Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ana Cantu reviews Mother (Judith 2) by Yasumasa Morimura

The work is a photograph of a reinterpretation of the Judith by Lucas Cranach, a renaissance painting, where it shows a very composed Judith posing with the severed head of Holofernes. Though the artist did a series of different takes of the said painting by Cranach, this one in particular is similar to the one that follows the painting exactly. The difference is that while the artist steps in to pose for Judith and the head, they are made out to look like food. Judith’s character is made out of lettuce and covered in its leaves, with necklaces made of what appears to be brussels sprouts and another of carrots or tiny orange sausages. Also, there is a tiny beer stein earring hanging from his/her earlobe. The rest of the Judith character is dressed in the same way as the Cranach painting, with her red hat, her intricate dress, and jeweled hands holding the golden sword. To go along with the theme of food, the head of Holofernes is painted in such a way that Morimura looks like a giant potato, surrounded by giant sausages, broccoli pieces, and some kinds of meat. 
  The use of the specific foods creates a tension between the genders. For example, Judith is covered mostly in lettuce, which is sometimes considered feminine for its lightness, while still wearing “masculine” items like the beer earring, something the character of Judith embodies the masculinity and the femininity. Also, the severed head of Holofernes is surrounded mostly by meat, which can be seen as masculine, more specifically the sausages that are phallic. The photograph in whole is the play of Judith’s dual nature.

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