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M Holding a Cigarette

A work made of internal dye diffusion transfer print.
© 1997 Yasumasa Morimura.

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  • A work made of internal dye diffusion transfer print.




Yasumasa Morimura
Japanese, born 1951

About this artwork

For more than 20 years, Yasumasa Morimura has presented himself in the guise of female cultural icons, re-creating their most famous portraits. His photographs do not present a seamless disguise of man as woman, artist as icon, or Japanese as Westerner. Instead, the makeup remains an obvious mask, as it does for female impersonators in Japanese Kabuki theater. Instant color photographs serve Morimura as tests for larger finished works or give him a way to adopt guises he has not pursued elsewhere. Intimate in size and self-developing, these pictures act as a kind of photographic sketchbook that allows the artist to consider adjustments to his costume, stance, pose, gaze, and gesture. M Holding a Cigarette casually reveals the edges of the rolled black backdrop as well as the metal structure supporting it, playfully showing the limits of the facade.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Yasumasa Morimura


M Holding a Cigarette


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1997


Internal dye diffusion transfer print


Image, approx: 11.3 × 8.5 cm (4 1/2 × 3 3/8 in.); paper, approx: 13 × 10 cm (5 1/8 × 3 15/16 in.); frame: 26.9 × 21.8 × 3.1 cm (10 5/8 × 8 5/8 × 1 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Bradford L. Ballast and David Hallett Hill

Reference Number



© 1997 Yasumasa Morimura.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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