Noh, Pop and Morimura

In a parallel world between Noh and Pop, Yasumasa Morimura – born in 1951 in Osaka -, is a Japanese “appropriation artist”: he borrows images from historical artists, and inserts his own face and body into them.

Noh, derived from the Sino-Japanese word for “skill” or “talent”- is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 13th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. While the field of Noh performance is extremely codified, with an emphasis on tradition rather than innovation, some performers do compose new plays or revive historical ones that are not a part of the standard repertoire. Works blending Noh with other theatrical traditions have been widly produced.

Pop, you know.

And then came Yasumasa Morimura, to give a new meaning to Noh, bringing it to photography.
In a western Pop way: Warholizing Japanese drama.

Yasumasa Morimura appropriates universally well known images derived from art history, mass media, and pop culture to create unconventional and bold self-portrait renderings in photography, performance, and video. Through the extensive use of props, costumes, make-up, and digital manipulation, Morimura masterfully transforms himself into recognizable subjects that punctuate the Western cultural cannon. His series include works based on seminal paintings by artists such as Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh, Velazquez, or Goya, as well as on other iconic pictorial sources from history; not forgetting some more contemporary, like his admiration by Cindy Sherman. Or even Andi Warhol. His unsettling deconstruction of iconic images and masterpieces challenges the assumptions already placed on such images while commenting on Japan’s complex and conflicting absorption of Western culture. His ability to both satirize and simultaneously create an homage to his source material is what makes Morimura’s work particularly forceful and effective.

I’ve been in love by his portrait of Mao since I first saw it at Paris Photo 2012.

A Requiem to Red Dream Mao, 2007, by Yasumasa Morimura

A Requiem to Red Dream Mao, 2007, by Yasumasa Morimura

Self-Portrait as M, by Yasumasa Morimura

Self-Portrait as M, by Yasumasa Morimura

An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (with Hand Shaped Earring), 2001, by Yasumasa Morimura

An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (with Hand Shaped Earring), 2001, by Yasumasa Morimura

A Requiem to Mishima, 1970, by Yasumasa Morimura

A Requiem to Mishima, 1970, by Yasumasa Morimura

Other posts you should read:

Exhibitions: Go! ;
David Szauder the Glitched PixelNoizz ;
Majid Saeedi: Lucas Dolega Award ;
Emmet Gowin and his revelations ;
Philip-Lorca diCorcia in the Street ;
Enrico Natali and other people ;
My Non Existence in a Prison. Moscow ;
Giving Birth to a Goat.
2013: The Interviews and The Photographers

"To My Little Sister Cindy Sherman", 1998, by Yasumasa Morimura

“To My Little Sister Cindy Sherman”, 1998, by Yasumasa Morimura

Self Portrait as Manet's Olympia, 1988, by Yasumasa Morimura

Self Portrait as Manet’s Olympia, 1988, by Yasumasa Morimura

A Requiem to Theater of Creativity: Self-portrait as Marcel Duchamp , 2010, by Yasumasa Morimura

A Requiem to Theater of Creativity: Self-portrait as Marcel Duchamp , 2010, by Yasumasa Morimura

Theater of Creativity: Self-portrait as Joseph Beuys, 2010, by Yasumasa Morimura

Theater of Creativity: Self-portrait as Joseph Beuys, 2010, by Yasumasa Morimura

Some other essays that made 2013 in 2HeadS:

Oneness;
Un Soir Place de la Bastille;
The Self, the Mirror, our Shadow and its Fear;
How to Cook Humans;
The Hard Softness (NSFW);
The Awakening of the Self;
An Interview With The Incredible Photographer Gonzalo Benard for MutantSpace;
Pain should never be an excuse, but a tool for you to create with;
B Shot by a Stranger: Beyond Loneliness
.

January, 2014 by ©Gonzalo Bénard for 2HeadS
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For any other contact about 2HeadS or my Photographic Work, from Art Galleries, Curators, Art Collectors, etc, please use the GBénard/2HeadS email. Thank you.

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