Yasumasa Morimura

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Yasumasa Morimura (森村 泰昌) is a modern artist from Japan. He was born on June 11th, 1951 in Osaka. He is best known for taking well known historical art and inserting his own face in the artwork, especially in artwork with women.


Born in Osaka to a green tea merchant, he went to Takatsu Osaka High school and after he graduated he enrolled in the Kyoto City University of the Arts, studying under Ernest Acer. He graduated in 1975 and started to work for the Matsushita Electric Co., before abruptly quitting and working as a guest speaker at various Japanese art schools. He had his first solo exhibition in 1983.

Appropriation Art

Yasumasa works with appropriation art. Appropriation art is when one takes old art or creation and uses it to make new pieces of artwork. In Morimura’s case, although he began by inserting various body limbs and different styles (this is more generic appropriation art) into new pieces of artwork. However, a few years later, inspired by the self portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, he began to create self portraits using previous pieces of art work, most often of women. He has a number of photographs of Marilyn Monroe that he has inserted his face in place of Marilyn’s. In addition, he takes many historically significant pieces of artwork and puts his face in there as well. He has created “An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Skull Ring)” and other photographs where he has taken famous Frida Kahlo pieces and inserted his own face in them while attempting to keep their basic properties the same.

The general idea that Morimura is trying to get across is both the questioning of the idea of beauty as well as exploring various gender and ethnic relationships.

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