Yasumasa Morimura was born in Osaka, Japan in 1951. After studying at the Kyoto City University of Art, he received his master’s degree at Columbia University in New York.
Morimura’s artistic language is a stream of contradictions arising at the junction of traditional and modern, at the crossroads of gender identity, the conflict between outward appearance and inner essence.
His unique approach to creating his work goes beyond the boundaries of traditional photography. The process of producing a single work is time consuming and starts with the decorative background for each scene out of clay. After careful processing, the sculpture is painted and given the required shading. On the next stage, the artist is transformed into the character of the painting through artful makeup and costumes. The culmination of this work is captured on camera, and only at the last point is the image corrected through computer editing. The result is a new synthetic product that combines the art of theater, sculpture, painting, and staged photography.
Morimura gained worldwide recognition with his series of self-portraits, re-imaginings of canonical figures of contemporary mass culture such as Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh, and Liza Minnelli. Another successful series of self-portraits was a collection of works illustrating the history of Western art, including interpretations of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Goya, Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo.
In the featured series “Inner Dialogue With Frida Kahlo” Morimura’s casts himself as the world famous Mexican artist known for her lush, surreal self-portraits:
“As I am being inspired by you, Doña Frida, I drink in what I like to think of as your essence so as to create a Frida of my own, in my own mind’s eye… In that fantastic sphere, the various elements of Doña Frida and myself mix into a muddle, a chemical reaction occurs, creating this imaginary Frida of mine. I wanted to give form to what Doña Frida is to me. Via self-portraiture, that is.”
SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (New York, NY, USA)
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY, USA)
Museum Ludwig (K.ln, Germany)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo, Japan)
National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto, Japan)
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan)
Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sof.a (Madrid, Spain)
Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY, USA)
Museum Ludwig (Cologne, Germany)
Whitney Museum of American Art (MoMA) (New York, NY, USA)