Exhibitions

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts shows Morimura’s interpretation of self-portraits

Self-portraits through Art history. Magritte. Triple personality. Yasumasa Morimura

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts continues to represent modern interpretations of world art masterpieces to its its visitors. In continuation of Dali variations on a theme of F. Goya Caprichos, Japanese photographer Yasumasa Morimura represents his vision of the history of self-portrait in the world art. The Exhibition “Yasumasa Morimura. The history of the self-portrait” will run from January 31 till April 09, 2017.

Ph. D. Olga Averyanova, exhibition curator, head of Photography Department of the museum, says that kind of art is simular to the style of modern American artist Cindy Sherman. It’s obvious, because we are talking about staged themed photos. The name of the genre – the appropriation. By the way, Morimura interpreted Cindy’s works too.

Introducing the author of the exhibition to the audience, Director of the museum Marina Loshak said that: “Morimura is a trully Japanese artist… wearing a mask, but remains open”. She also stressed: “the key word of this show – text”, recommending audio attached to the works. Sounded artist’s phantasy regarding to theme of pictures – it is sound files from the movie about his art. Moreover, the paintings that he has selected for artistic rethinking is usually works with ambiguous interpretation and attribution that leaves room for explication.

Left: Self-portraits through Art history. Rembrandt testament. Yasumasa Morimura. Right: Self-portrait as Saint Paul. Rembrandt
Left: Self-portraits through Art history. Rembrandt testament. Yasumasa Morimura. Right: Self-portrait as Saint Paul. Rembrandt

Yasumasa Morimura says, “I have always loved to dream”, and it explains his inspiration to recreate the paintings of old masters using his own made-up and disguised image. “The accompanying text in the form of confession – is an attempt to interpret the history in my own way”, – he says.

Morimura’s interpretation covers self-portraits of Rembrandt van Rijn, Leonardo da Vinci, A. Dürer, Caravaggio M., G. Courbet, V. Van Gogh, Dali and others. Morimura conducts a dialogue with Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist by devoting to her a series of works. In the Greek courtyard of the Museum in addition to the Caprichos of Goya and Dali, Japanese artist will also exhibit his interpretations of Caprichos of the great Spanish painter.

In response to the question of cultural and political magazine “E Vesti”, whose work inspired Y. Morimura, and, in particular, whether he has favourite Russian artists, he said, “Among those who have influenced me when I was a teenager, was Kandinsky. After this was long period when I have been deeply influenced by the avant-garde: Malevich, Rodchenko, and El Lissitzky. I learned from them the art of photography, and poster art. So, I had a period of strong influence from the Russian avant-garde. And I was very impressed by Russian abstractionists”.

But he refuses to interpret them, because he can not imagine an abstract image of his image: “I have a great interest in self-portrait, but, regarding to Russian art of the 20th century, I am most interested in abstract art, and you realize I can hardly put my face in an abstract painting”.

The exhibition program includes meeting with Yasumasa Morimura and Olga Averjanova, lectures about modern Japanese art and “take pictures together” event. It should be noted that Japanese artist can tell a great many ideas for the selfie lovers, and bring their art on a high cognitive level.

82 works of Morimura, from the first “Van Gogh”, created in 1985, to the latest works of 2016 you can see in the Gallery of 19-20th Centuries of European and American Art of museum. 55 of them are from artist’s collection, and the rest from Japanese museums of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. In total, Yasumasa Morimura has created more than 300 images.

Self-portraits through Art history. Courbet. Pleasure with a wounded heart. Yasumasa Morimura
Self-portraits through Art history. Courbet. Pleasure with a wounded heart. Yasumasa Morimura
The Wounded Man (self-portrait of the artist). Gustave Courbet
The Wounded Man (self-portrait of the artist). Gustave Courbet