Ken Kitano: Our Face

Ken Kitano
30 marchers at “World Peace Now”, the demonstration of 50,000 people protesting the US-UK attacks against Iraq, March 8, 2003, from Hibiya Park to streets of Ginza, Tokyo

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From the Blindspot exhibition press release:

At first glance images in our face can be deceiving. Where it appears to be an ambiguous portrait of a single person, it is in fact an accumulation and stratification of several dozen individuals. The single figure we see does not exist as an actual person, nor can it be classed as a true portrait. Instead it is far closer to the demographic whole, not only a representation of the subject but also a creation of a new signifier, questioning people’s very existence.

Kitano has been working on our face since 1999, when he started taking photos of various social groups, divided into 6 categories: on the road, religion, children, war, race and occupation. The images ranged from Chinese laborer, to Muslim women, to world peace protesters. The project started in his motherland but

continued on to other parts of the world, making it his life’s work.

Kitano’s techniques are of the old school. His work is painstakingly produced and time consuming, using darkroom layering process which combines dozens of negatives, images are projected on top of one another with precise exposures to create an icon of a particular community. Kitano sees darkroom skills as a handcraft, artistry of a bygone age. Each of the life size print is unique and printed in Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (Beijing), one of the very few facilities in the world where this work can be produced on such a scale.

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