Yasumasa Morimura (born 1951, Osaka, Japan) has been working as a conceptual photographer and filmmaker for more than three decades. Through extensive use of props, costumes, makeup, and digital manipulation, the artist masterfully transforms himself into recognizable subjects, often from the Western cultural canon. Morimura has based works on seminal paintings by Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, and Diego Velázquez, as well as images culled from historical materials, mass media, and popular culture. The artist’s reinvention of iconic photographs and art historical masterpieces challenges the associations the viewer has with the subjects, while also commenting on Japan's complex absorption of Western culture. Through his depiction of female stars and characters, Morimura subverts the concept of the “male gaze”; within each image he both challenges the authority of identity and overturns the traditional scope of self-portraiture.
The artist has recently had solo exhibitions at the Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art, Kyoto; Artizon Museum, Tokyo; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Japan Society, New York; the National Museum of Modern Art, Osaka, Japan; the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; and the Sammlung Friedrichshof in Zurndorf, Austria. Morimura's work has been collected by numerous prominent public and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.