Japanese artist Mari Katayama (born 1987) features her own body in a provocative series of works combining photography, sculpture, and textile. Born with a developmental condition, the artist had both her legs amputated at the age of nine and has worn prosthetics ever since. In order to fill a deep gap between her own understanding of self and physicality, and contemporary society’s simplistic categorizations, Katayama began to explore her identity by objectifying her body in her art. In photographs she assumes different personas, dressed in revealing lingerie in private, domestic spaces or in dramatic waterscapes. The unflinching display of the vulnerabilities and limits of Katayama’s body opens up a broader conversation about anxieties and wounds for all of us—disabled or nondisabled—living in an age obsessed with body image. UMMA’s installation will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.S.
Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Center for Japanese Studies, the Japan Business Society of Detroit Foundation, the Japan Cultural Development, and Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment. Additional generous support is provided by the Susan and Richard Gutow Endowed Fund, the University of Michigan CEW+ Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, and Women's Studies Department.