Those who previously avoided attending contemporary art exhibits for fear of confronting something esoteric and incomprehensible, can make an exception this time. The exhibition (One Man Show) at Gary Tatintsian Gallery is meant to be taken in directly, regardless of the visitor’s preparation. Upon entering, one becomes a spectator to a stunning visual history of Western art, revealed through one man’s theatrical transformations of historic works.
The creator of this explosive mix of Kabuki theater, painting and staged photography not without the element of kitsch, is a guest from Japan Yasumasa Morimura. He is not only a photographer, but a director and producer, as well as the main dramatic persona in all of his works. Each of his photographs is a carefully choreographed spectacle, the finale of which is captured in a photographic instance.
Yasumasa Morimura was born in Osaka, Japan in 1951. He studied at the University of the Arts in Kyoto and received his Masters from Columbia University in New York. His artistic vernacular is a stream of contradictions, arising at the juncture of the traditional and the contemporary, the crossroads of gender identity, the conflict between outward appearance and inner being.
It is Morimura’s approach to the creation of his works that is decidedly interesting and surpasses the bounds of traditional photography. The process to creating one of his photographs is long, one that begins with constructing the decorative background for each scene, out of clay. After meticulous treatment, the sculpture gets painted and is given color. During the next phase, the artist transforms himself into the personage of the painting with the aid of extravagant make up and costume. The culmination of this endeavor is captured on film, and only at the very last stage is the image adjusted using current technology. In the end, a new kind of synthetic product is born, which combines the art of theater, sculpture, painting and photography in one.
He gained world recognition with his series of self-portraits, transformations into canonical figures of contemporary mass culture like Marylin Monroe, Vivien Lee, Liza Minnelli. Another successful series of self-portraits was a collection of works illustrating the history of Western art that included interpretations of paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Goya, Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo.
No international Biennial of art goes by without including Morimura’s works. His works belong to permanent collections of the world’s largest museums (Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum Ludwig, Köln; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum), and are part of respected private collections (The Saatchi Gallery, London).
Gary Tatintsian Gallery is pleased to present this full-scale exhibition of a prominent star of Japanese contemporary art. The show features large format photographs and a video installation created by Morimura on the themes of paintings of famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and legendary painter Francisco Goya.