Tabletop City (Arch of Triumph)

©︎Yasumasa Morimura

Yasumasa Morimura
Tabletop City (Arch of Triumph)
1984 (printed in 2017)
20.2 x 13.5 cm
gelatin silver print

Since the 1980s, Yasumasa Morimura has been widely known for his self-portrait paintings, photographs and videos. Inserting himself into classic images throughout the history of Japanese and Western visual art, he has consciously parodied while recreating them through make-up, setting, and compositing. His work has been challenging the way art history is written and widely provoking discussions about identity politics.

Tabletop City (Arch of Triumph) is from an earlier series called Barco negro na mesa (1983-1984). Influenced by the education he received as a student, Morimura photographed a series of indoor still lifes, featuring furniture, tableware, and other items commonly found in daily life, and created a strong Modernist style emphasizing the important role of composition.

In Tabletop City (Arch of Triumph), a fork, a glass, and a light bulb together form a sculpture. The clean background and the tabletop with most of it cut off render the image abstract and make it lose the dimension of space, which is why it is feasible to see it as a landscape as the title suggests.

(Commentary: ZHANG Yangyu / Translation: Anna Kato)