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Yasumasa Morimura: Ego Obscura

Yasumasa Morimura, Une moderne Olympia, 2018, chromogenic print, transparent medium, frame

Japan Society Gallery presents Yasumasa Morimura: Ego Obscura, the first solo institutional exhibition by the Osaka-based artist in New York City. On view from October 12, 2018 through January 13, 2019, the exhibition showcases Morimura’s ambitious thirty-year practice spent deconstructing the concept of “the self” through his elaborately restaged self-portraits as historical and cultural icons. His exploration challenges traditional depictions of Eastern and Western roles relating to gender and sexuality, and critiques the power dynamics of Western culture and postwar Japanese history.


Ego Obscura, curated by Japan Society Gallery Director Yukie Kamiya, takes as its point of departure the artist’s acclaimed photographic portraits. Morimura transforms himself into famous protagonists from masterpieces of European painting, pop culture icons, and notable historical figures from the twentieth century, including Manet’s Olympia, Marilyn Monroe, Yukio Mishima, and General Douglas MacArthur, the Allied commander during postwar occupation of Japan. The exhibition will also feature the U.S. premiere of the artist's first full-length video work, Egó Sympósion (2016) and his latest cinematic installation Egó Obscura (2018), in conjunction with a live performance, Morimura’s Nippon Cha Cha Cha!, staged by the artist on Saturday, October 13 at 7:30pm.