Yasumasa Morimura, ‘Self-Portrait (actress) after Jodie Foster’, 1996, Japan Society Benefit Auction 2016

Yasumasa Morimura has explored contemporary identity by embedding himself in iconic photographs and art historical masterpieces since the 1980s. In the series "Actresses," he has transformed himself into female movie stars from Elizabeth Taylor to Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn. Influenced by and often compared to Cindy Sherman, Morimura's appropriations subvert associations with historically resonant images and question the nature of identity. In this photograph, he appears as the teenage prostitute Iris, played by Jodie Foster, in the Academy Award-nominated film "Taxi Driver" (1976). Building upon Sherman's critiques of the "male gaze," Morimura's works add an additional, culturally coded layer, by confounding “the familiar” and “the exotic.”


Please note: After bidding closes on Artsy, bids on this piece will be transferred and executed at the live auction component of the Japan Society Benefit & Auction on the evening of November 2, 2016.

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York, © Yasumasa Morimura

About Yasumasa Morimura

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.

Japanese, b. 1951, Osaka, Japan