13 November 2010: Yasumasa Morimura, Selected Photographs & Interview

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Theater of Creativity/ Self-portrait as Yves Klein 2010, gelatin silver print, 120x90cm, ed.10 (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Theater of Creativity/ Self-portrait as Jackson Pollock 2010, gelatin silver print, 120x90cm, ed.10 (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Onlookers Cannot Undo Her Kinked Hair/ 1945, Germany 2010, gelatine silver print, 135x178cm, ed.7 (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Remembrance Parade/ 1945, USA 2010, gelatine silver print, 178x135cm, ed.7 (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Unexpected Visitors/ 1945, Japan 2010, type c print, 187.5x150cm, ed. (photo courtesy of www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Spinning a Thread between the Light and the Earth/ 1946, India 2010, gelatine silver print, 120x150cm, ed.7 (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Theater of Creativity/ Self-portrait as Pablo Picasso 2010, gelatin silver print, 120x90cm, ed.10 (photo courtesy of www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Theater of Creativity/ Self-portrait as Marcel Duchamp, (Based on the photo by Julian Wasser) 2010, type c print, 150x187.5cm, ed.5 Marcel Duchamp, “La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (The Large Glass, Tokyo Version)”, Collection of Art Museum, College of Art and Sciences, ©Marcel Duchamp Foundation, ONO Yoko, "White Chess" ©Yoko Ono (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Infinite Dream / Che , 2007 Gelatin silver print mounted on alpolic Edition of 10 47 1/4 X 37 3/4 in. (120 X 96 cm ) (photo courtesy of: http://www.luhringaugustine.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Red Dream / MAO, 2007 C-Print mounted on Alpolic 150 x 120 cm (59 x 47 in) (photo courtesy of: http://www.ropac.net)

Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Dream of Universe / ALBERT 2 2007, Gelatine Silver Print 120x96cm, ed.10 (photo courtesy of http://www.shugoarts.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, Vermeer Pearl, 2007 C-print on canvas 42 x 36 cm (17 x 14 in) (photo courtesy of: http://www.ropac.net)
Yasumasa Morimura, Dedicated to La Duquesa de Alba/ Black Alba, 2004 Los Nuevos Caprichos C-print on canvas edition of 5: 47.24 x 71 inches (120 x 180 cm) edition of 10: 35 x 23.6 inches (90 x 60 cm) (photo courtesy of: www.luhringaugustine.com)
Yasumasa Morimura, Daughter of Art History (Princess A), 1990 Color photograph 82 3/4 X 63 inches (210.2 X 160 cm) (photo courtesy of: www.luhringaugustine.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, Portrait (Nine Faces), 1989 Fotografía en color, 266 x 338 cm. Cortesía del artista y de la Galería Luhring Augustine, NY (photo courtesy of: http://www.fundacion.telefonica.com)

Yasumasa Morimura, Portrait (Futago), 1988-1990 Cibachrome, 266 x 366 cm. Cortesía del artista y de la Galería Luhring Augustine, NY (photo courtesy of: www.fundacion.telefonica.com)
Yasumasa Morimura, Daughter of Art History (Theatre B), 1989 Fotografía en color, Impresión tipo C, 180 x 246 cm. Colección de Bernardo Nadal-Ginard y Laura Steinberg Cortesía del artista y de la Galería Luhring Augustine, NY (photo courtesy of: www.fundacion.telefonica.com)
Yasumasa Morimura, Portrait (Van Gogh), 1985 Fotografía en color, 120 x 100 cm. Colección Ikkan Sanada, NY Cortesía del artista y de la Galería Luhring Augustine, NY (photo courtesy of: www.fundacion.telefonica.com)
Yasumasa Morimura, Doublonnage (Marcel), 1995 Fotografía en color, 150 x 120 cm. Colección Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, Madrid (photo courtesy of: www.fundacion.telefonica.com)
Yasumasa Morimura A Requiem: MISHIMA, 1970.11.25 – 2006.4.6 2006 Shugoarts, Tokyo (photo courtesy of: www.artnet.com)
Yasumasa Morimura A Requiem: OSWALD, 1963.11.24 – 2006.4.1 2006 Shugoarts, Tokyo (photo courtesy of: www.artnet.com)

Yasumasa Morimura A Requiem: VIETNAM WAR1968 - 1991 2006 Shugoarts, Tokyo (photo courtesy of: http://www.artnet.com)

Yasumasa Morimura Self-Portrait – After Greta Garbo 2 1996 gelatin silver prints 44 x 34.5 cm (photo courtesy of: www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)
Yasumasa Morimura Self-Portrait – After Ingrid Bergman 1996 gelatin silver prints 44 x 34.5 cm (photo courtesy of: www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)
Yasumasa Morimura Self-Portrait – After Marilyn Monroe 1996 gelatin silver prints 44 x 34.5 cm (photo courtesy of: www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)
Yasumasa Morimura Self-Portrait after Brigitte Bardot 1 1996 gelatin silver prints 44 x 34.5 cm (photo courtesy of: www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)

Yasumasa Morimura Self-Portrait after Liza Minelli 1 1996 gelatin silver prints 44 x 29 cm (photo courtesy of: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)

Selected Interview: Yasumasa Morimura
Reinterpretations of Modern History

Yasumasa Morimura discusses history, political art and the circularity of time
Special to The Japan Times

AM: You are known for self-portraits reinterpreting canonical works of Western art history. In your current show, however, you address the idea of history itself. What led to the shift from art history to history?

YM: In 1991, I had my first solo show in New York, featuring the series “Daughter of Art History,” but I also included another one-off work — actually on view here — re-enacting Eddie Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a street execution during the Tet Offensive. At that time the United States was engaged in the First Gulf War and I was responding to a deep sense of crisis.

I always thought to pursue that work further, but, in fact, reflecting on contemporary events was already part of “Daughter of Art History.” For example, I felt that (Pieter) Brueghel’s “The Parable of the Blind” (1568), with its line of blind people leading each other into a ditch, is a good metaphor for Japan’s Bubble Economy. So in my version, there is a rich developer, followed by a girl with all kinds of shopping bags, a soldier and even an artist.

The shift now is not so much from art history to history, as it is from working with painting to working with photography as a source material. If you’re dealing with historical subjects from the 19th century and earlier, then the embodiment of the age is in painting. The “Mona Lisa” is not just an artwork, it can help you understand the Italian Renaissance, or a Rembrandt can help you understand the Holland of that time.

When I began considering the 20th century, there were plenty of fabulous paintings to work with, but the medium that I felt most effectively manifests the age is photography.

AM: Is it possible to interpret a political stance from your works?

YM: That is not my intent. Political art can be a vehicle for expressing your own identity, thoughts and political position, but it is ultimately about using art to convey a message.

But if you want to convey a message, it doesn’t have to be through art. Maybe you could be a politician, or an activist, or even a terrorist. I try to engage viewers in a dialogue. I think good works create an impetus for reflection.

Another way of looking at it is to compare the Japanese words bureruand yureru. Bureru (literally, to blur) means that your opinions are always undefined, easily corrupted by what other people say. But there is a slight difference with the word yureru (to shake or waver). I know it sounds very Zen, but wavering between two points can actually be a way of defining your opinions.

For my current project, I’m dealing with controversial revolutionary figures like Lenin. Maybe people will ask me which side I’m on, and I don’t really have a good answer except to say that I’m on both sides. I think if you were to line up Leftist and Rightist ideologues back to back, there would be many overlapping points. The radical desire to change the world may manifest itself differently, but the spirit is profoundly similar.

It’s not as simple as picking sides. For example, I made many works dealing with Western art history, so someone could say, “oh, you must like Western art history.” Of course I do, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a love-hate aspect to it. Maybe there are times when you have to pick sides, but even as you’re going through that process, you’re wavering between the two extremes, and that feels more real to me. I believe art is what is able to express that reality.

In other words, a politician cannot afford to waver. Nor can a CEO, who always has to be ready with a decision. That’s fine if those are the demands of the job, but if art is reduced to those terms then it loses its essence. Making art is about being able to address what other professions predicated on daily “A” or “B” choices cannot. Rather than choosing between “A” or “B,” art is about recognizing that something can be not only “A” but also “B.”

AM: How about your new video, “Gift of Sea: Raising a flag on the battlefield” (2010). Is it partly a retrospective of your own career?

YM:There’s a retrospective element to it, maybe a spiritual retrospective. It features footage of the house where I grew up, or it revisits certain things that I’d done, like my performance as Marilyn Monroe at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1995. I’ve exhibited photographs of the performance before, but never the video documentation.

And it occupies the last room of the exhibition layout. Visitors progress through all the other works to reach it. But maybe more than a retrospective, it represents the things that I really want to say. Not that my other works don’t achieve that, but I think “Gift of Sea” in particular reflects the fact that I am now in a position where I can say the things I want to say and tell the stories I want to tell.

AM: So is it a “legacy” work?

YM:Well, no. When you think about Paul Gauguin’s last major work, “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” (1897-98), I’d say from the last part of the title that he’s looking into the future. I like the fact that it’s posing a question. But how would I answer that question? The idea that past, present and future follow each other linearly — actually, what I feel happens is you progress and then loop back to your past.

I’ve finally come to understand that these things loop back together. It doesn’t mean I’m going to repeat myself — there’s a new world waiting to begin. The more I make works, the more I question where it’s going, and the more I realize I’m heading back to where I started. It’s an interesting experience.

 


 

Interview Source: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fa20100319a1.html

Image Source:

http://www.ropac.net/artists/yasumasa-morimura/

 

 

http://www.luhringaugustine.com/artists/yasumasa-morimura/#

http://www.shugoarts.com/en/morimura-requiem4.html

http://www.fundacion.telefonica.com/es/at/catayasu/yasumasa01.html

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/itoi/itoi12-6-06_detail.asp?picnum=1

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About fARTiculate

Transmissions from an island somewhere in the Philippines. Integrating daily art practice & other initiatives from the physical world down to virtual space. To see my daily artworks, you can visit my site at: http://dailypractice.tumblr.com http://brownskinartist.multiply.com
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