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Yasumasa Morimura

Dress from the Guest Artist series Autumn-Winter 1996-97

Gael Newton

Originally published as an entry to the NGA's Acquisitions 1999

Miyake Design Studio Tokyo established 1970

Yasumasa Morimura Japan   b. 1951 Dress from the Guest Artist series Autumn-Winter 1996-97

screenprinted and pleated polyester Gift of Issey Miyake and Yasumasa Morimura 1997 1998.20


This dress was produced as part of the first Guest Artist series initiated by Issey Miyake in which the fashion designer collaborated with contemporary artists. In 1996 five garments were printed with images produced by Yasimusa Morimura.

These were based on the painting La source by the French artist Jean-Auguste Ingres (1780-1867), whose highly idealised, neo-classical images of women stand as models of feminine beauty. The wearer of this dress assumes the persona both of Ingress subject and Morimura's irreverent image below, producing a subtle interplay between art-historical reference and contemporary art and fashion.

Miyake is a most ardent modernist. One of his far-reaching experiments in clothing construction has been the development of a pleating technique, in which garments are first sewn, finished, and then pleated. This technique has been copied widely. Each season over the past decade he has progressively evolved new ideas for his pleated garments.

Morimura is well known for his cleverly constructed photographic images based on the canon of Western art. He often inserts an image of himself into his work, taking on the role of the female subject of a famous painting. The frisson created by the unexpected conjunction of a Japanese male masquerading as an icon of Western feminine beauty is one of the more ironic outcomes of this gesture.


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