Yasumasa Morimura was born in Osaka in 1951, and received his B.A. in 1978 from the Kyoto City University of Art. Since the mid-80s he has pursued his own unique brand of “appropriation” with his simulations of other artists’ paintings where he inserts himself into the work, done with extreme care — and a lot of make-up — to ensure the results have a high level of fidelity. Particularly compelling — and it has to be said, hilarious — are those works of self-portraiture where Morimura becomes the artist “depicted”, from Van Gogh to the more recent Frida Kahlo. He is also well known for his series of Hollywood starlets where he becomes Greta Garbo, Brigitte Bardot, and Marilyn Monroe, among many others.
The above work comes from his latest exhibition, Requiem for Something – Art at the Summit of the Battlefield, which is currently on view at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography until May 19. From Lenin to Picasso to Einstein, Morimura’s “self” portraits pay homage to many famous male figures of the 20th century.