Luhring Augustine is pleased to announce Yasumasa Morimura: Self-Portraits, the artist’s ninth solo show with the gallery, and his first presentation in our Tribeca location. For nearly four decades Morimura’s conceptual multi-media practice, which includes photography, film, and performance, has been realized through the meticulous and innovative use of costumes, makeup, and staging. Masterfully transforming himself into famous figures who are often pulled from the Western cultural canon, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, and Albert Einstein, Morimura’s work reference well-known imagery ranging from historical paintings and photographs, to pop culture and mass media. His reinvention of these iconic photographs and art historical masterpieces into a form of self-portraiture challenges conventional associations viewers may have with these well-known subjects, while also commenting on Japan’s complex absorption of Western culture in the post-war era.
At the center of the exhibition is Morimura’s One Hundred M’s self-portraits, a series of 100 photographs in which he depicts renowned personalities. In these works, Morimura slips seamlessly into character, portraying the sensuality of Brigitte Bardot, theatricality of Michael Jackson, and elegance of Audrey Hepburn with ease. Through his avant-garde depiction of performers and characters, he subverts the concept of the “male gaze,” and within each image he both challenges the authority of identity and overturns the traditional scope of self-portraiture. Complementing this seminal piece are photographs from the artist’s actress series, a body of work which delves into the complex and captivating history of Western femininity, identity, and fame. Blurring the lines between reality and artifice, Morimura engages with the enigmatic allure and complex narratives of these cinematic starlets. With a discerning eye and a profound understanding of cultural context, his actresses unveil a mesmerizing tapestry of identities, exploring the transformative power of visual storytelling and inviting audiences to question the constructs of fame, beauty, and the self.