From 1996 to 1998, garments from Issey Miyake's Pleats Please Guest Artist Series showcased the work of selected contemporary artists. Using the one-size-fits all, permanently pleated polyester garments as a canvas, artists Yasumasa Morimura, Nobuyoshi Araki, Tim Hawkinson and Cai Guo Qiang created prints specifically for Pleats Please. The first collaboration, Guest Artist Series No. 1, highlighted the work of artist Yasumasa Morimura.
Born in 1951 in Osaka, Japan, Morimura's art is based on an egocentric reimagining of iconic paintings and photographs from art history and celebrity culture. Morimura hijacks these images, usually inserting a carefully costumed version of himself in place of the central figure. Using both and high and low technologies, Morimura has envisioned himself as Frida Kahlo, Van Gogh's sunflowers, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, Che Guevara, and Judith holding the head of Holofernes. For his collaboration with Issey Miyake, Morimura placed himself within the neoclassical world of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres' 1856 painting, La Source. Instead of replacing the central figure with his own image, Morimura twined an inverted image of himself wrapped in red mesh around the painting's subject, a statuesque nude. The final print is a complicated layering of art historical and contemporary imagery that touches on a variety of constructs: male and female, east and west, clothed and nude.