"Even in recent video-based works Kasumi’s political concerns are not always preeminent. Often an examination of the distance between emotional expression and communicative ambiguities (especially within the closed circuit of self-perception) is a more central subject. This is notably true in montages produced between 2001-2005 where she makes provocative use of texture and gesture and where her training as a painter is evident. One idea she explores is that the construction of identity through gesture may sometimes amount to a betrayal of self. Such concerns cast the whole project of expressive art in a suspicious light. There is a paranoid tendency latent in montage, a secret belief that any personal expression reveals an effective method of manipulation, of interrogation. From this point of view every true self-portrait is a kind of suicide, or martyrdom.
In the installation Five Portraits in Five Minutes (2005), Kasumi’s cast of characters here are, in order: a young man, raising and lowering his face, a child, an old man in a cap, a young woman in a 1930’s-era bathing suit, dancing with arms out-stretched, and another young man, filmed in very tight close-up. Two of the men are double, either literally beside themselves, like the man with the cap, or the one who faces himself, melting and separating as if reflected in two halves of a mirror. Many viewings are needed to perceive all, or even most, of the constituent images in Five Portraits, flickering as each frame blends into the next. In fact Kasumi has set her characters ablaze, shimmering and flaring amid arcs of penumbral light. These are portraits, but portraits executed in the medium of time – recursive images which evolve and repeat. They capitalize on the swift passage of multiple views, ranging in subject from the formal shifts of the angling of facial planes to the psychological implication of a given posture.
Viewers may recognize the young woman as Hitler’s lover Eva Braun. Her expression appears to shift between pleasure and terror and her extended arms are like wings in flight, outspread as if to offer an embrace, but also evoking the iconography of crucifixion."
Text by Douglas Max Utter