“Las Meninas Reborn in the Night”
Ladies and Gentlemen…!
What you are about to see is a one-man drama, in eight acts, performed by yours truly, Yasumasa Morimura. When all is said and done, we will have seen magical transformations into eleven different personalities!
My theme shall be Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor), that most famous painting by the Spanish Baroque master Diego Velázquez, the idea of which I have long cherished, since as far back as 1990, on the day when I first impersonated the Princess Margarita of Velázquez’s painting. Twenty-three years have come and gone, and the time has come for me to perform this play for you.
The stage is the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, in the gallery which the aforementioned Las Meninas is displayed. There, shrouded in the silent hush of night, I, unworthy Morimura, stand before the painting.
And then, something quite odd! The artist’s studio in the picture and the gallery are suddenly connected and warp away together to some unknown sphere. Where have they gone? To some other world beyond? To some hidden interstice in the twisted fabric of space and time? Wherever it may be, I shortly call upon the imaginative power of art appreciation and, on a fantastical whim, attempt to merge myself right into the painting.
Painting, mirror and door, in a three-sided reflection. Tendrils of gaze – of painter, models and viewers – entwine and snarl. This baroque world enveloped in stillness continues to twist and turn within its own silence, and one wonders if some denouement awaits beyond it.
You can look forward to seeing for yourself, through the travels of a wanderer in this labyrinth of painting, this adventure of some 350 years. And my friends: I advise that you keep your eyes open wide and give yourselves over to the most careful observation, so that you do not become lost in the perspective!
Yasumasa Morimura Autumn, 2013
Prologue in the catalogue “Las Meninas Renacen de Noche”, Shisheido Gallery
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