With costumes, makeup, props, and digital manipulation, Yasamusa Morimura appropriates celebrated images of historical artworks or well-known figures, transforming himself into these largely Western subjects. Along with addressing ideas of originality and authenticity, the artist contends with issues of race, ethnicity, and cultural standards. For Portrait-Musume I, Morimura reimagines Berthe Morisot as painted by Édouard Manet, both key figures in the French Impressionist movement. Morimura mimics the lighting and shadows of Manet’s portrait and captures Morisot’s searching, probing gaze.
As the artist explains, “Taking photographs is generally an act of looking at the object, whereas ‘being seen’ or ‘showing’ is what is of most interest to one who does a self-portrait.” Through the incongruity of picturing an Asian man as a white European woman, the artist highlights the power of representation and being seen, reinventing an iconic Western image to challenge our own associations with its subject.
From the 2020 exhibition Reconstitution, curated by Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art
First Year Student Enrichment Program, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2021
WRIT 3, Composition and Research II, Doug Moody, Winter 2022
THEA 21/WGSS 59.04, Race, Gender, Performance, Laura Edmondson, Spring 2022
Writing Program 3.06, Composition and Research II, Doug Moody, Winter 2023
Reconstitution, Dorothy and Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 2, 2020 - June 20, 2021.
The artist, 1988; Satani Gallery, Tokyo, date unknown; Anonymous gift; given to present collection, 2018.
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