Japanese, born 1951
Since the early 1980s, Yasumasa Morimura has been embedding himself into iconic images appropriated from art history, mass media, and popular culture, producing photographs that simultaneously celebrate, satirize, and explore their enduring influence and the stories they convey. Humorously encapsulating his approach, he claims that by reconstructing historically resonant images, he “bring(s) them back to life as things of the present. A bit like reconstituting freeze-dried tofu and serving it up again to eat now.” Like Cindy Sherman, to whom he is compared and by whom he is influenced, Morimura uses makeup, costuming, and prosthetics to transform himself into the protagonists he portrays, while providing visual cues that hint at his masquerade. Among his best-known series is “Daughter of Art History” (begun 1985) in which he recreates canonical works by such artists as Johannes Vermeer and Frida Kahlo.