Japanese hair, makeup artist Hirofumi Kera leaps across boundaries

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A bunraku puppet whose head is produced by Hirofumi Kera is seen with a video image of his performance projected on the wall.

By Mutsumi Morita / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterA spotlight shines on a bunraku puppet. Her face is delicately painted with thin but strong eyebrows and bright red lipstick, and her expression changes depending on the angle.

This is not an exhibition of traditional arts or of dolls. This is a private show by hair and makeup artist Hirofumi Kera, who created the head of the puppet by applying her makeup and other steps.

Titled “May I start? Hirofumi Kera’s Cross-Border Hair & Makeup,” this show presents Kera’s wide-ranging activities in collaboration with other genres.

A video installation at the exhibition simultaneously projects 39 different styles of hair and makeup applied to one female model on 39 monitors. This work eloquently displays Kera’s ability in his main field, where he commands a variety of techniques and expressions.

A great deal of space is also devoted to artworks Kera was involved in. These include the “Self-portrait as art history” series by Yasumasa Morimura, a contemporary artist who portrays himself as characters in masterpieces; and collaborative photos with photographer and flower arrangement artist Joichi Teshigahara.

Visitors can also see the hair and makeup Kera created for the idol group, re-created for the show on mannequins; and special effects makeup with eyes all over a face.

“I’m not a so-called artist,” Kera says, but there’s no doubt he inspires not only art but other genres as well.

In the exhibition room containing the bunraku puppet, a video clip plays showing Kera doing hair and makeup, symbolizing his high-profile activities that easily transcend boundaries.

Kera was born in Niigata Prefecture in 1971. The exhibition also introduces his work on fashion shows, fashion catalogs and corporate posters.

The “May I start? Hirofumi Kera’s Cross-Border Hair & Makeup” exhibition is being held at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, in Saitama through Sept. 1.

Kera is also participating in a personal exhibition by designer Yuima Nakazato through Sept. 1 at The Ginza Space in Ginza, Tokyo.Speech

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