Yasumasa Morimura. The history of the self-portrait

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts presents a solo exhibition of the contemporary Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura. The show is dedicated to the history of self-portrait in the world art. The display will present over 80 pieces from the collection of The National Museum of Art (Osaka), Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), The National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto), and from the collection of the artist.

The exhibition consist of several sections: the first one entitled “When I Didn’t Know Anything about Art History” includes photographs from the artist’s personal archive, two early pieces of 1985 – “Portrait. Van Gogh” and “Portrait. Camille Roulin”, and a large-scale multi-figured composition “A Sympósion on Self-Portraits” representing many characters of his transformations. The second section called “Self-Portraits through Art History” displays works created in 2016: portraits of Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, van Eyck, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Courbet, Böcklin, Ensor, van Gogh, Rousseau, Magritte, and Dalí. Along with the artistic interpretation of the characters, the titles given by the artist are a fundamental part of the creative idea. The section “An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo” is entirely dedicated to the Mexican artist. Another room will be exploring “Las Meninas” – a painting by Diego Velasquez, renowned Spanish artist of the 17th century. In the “The 20th Century – An Age of Self-Portraits” section the viewers will see original interpretations of works by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Cindy Sherman.

Morimura’s big set “Faces of Rembrandt” presents the artist’s vision of self-portraits of the great Dutch painter. The photographs inspired by Rembrandt’s etchings will be on display in the Main Building of the Museum (Italian Courtyard), along with 12 pieces from the “Los Nuevos Caprichos”, inspired by the famous set of etchings created by Francisco Goya.

In his art, the Japanese artist involved in the globalization processes attempts to analyze the trends of the development of art, to re-evaluate the importance and the place of the traditional system of values in today’s world.

Yasumasa Morimura was born in Osaka (Japan) in 1951. He entered the international art scene in the early 1980s. In his first photographic works, he transformed himself into personalities of contemporary pop culture and artists of various periods. Morimura acts as both model and concept creator. During his career, he has invented over 300 different characters. Today, Yasumasa Morimura is considered the most well-known Japanese artist working with the appropriation genre.

The Museum suggests an educational program for the exhibition “Yasumasa Morimura. The History of the Self-Portrait” including public talks with the artist and the exhibition curator, as well as lectures on Japanese contemporary art.

The exhibition will also be accompanied by the annual creative campaign “Taking Photographs Together”, which will take place in February 2017.

Exhibition Curator: Olga Averyanova, PhD (History of Art), Head of the Art of Photography Department at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

This Exhibition is supported by the National Museum of Art, Osaka.

This Exhibition is originally curated and organized by the National Museum of Art, Osaka.

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