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s11 portraits | 三世諸佛 @ Rubicon ARI 1 - 18 December 2021

Updated: Apr 7

Artist statement and list of works

2000年9月にメルボルンのクラウン・カジノで開催された世界経済フォーラム(WEF)に対するコミュニティの反応が「s11抗議行動」でした. デモ参加者は、WEFがグローバル企業の利益向上を支援する一方で、貧富の差や環境悪化を拡大させていることに注目するため、カジノをピケッティングしました. デモ参加者の多くは、非暴力・市民的不服従の精神を貫いていました. 最終日の3日目の明け方、スティーブ・ブラックス知事は、警察を大量に動員してピケラインを強制的に突破するよう命じた. 警察は身分証明書を身につけていなかった。デモ隊は圧倒的に数が少なく、混乱の中で何人かが負傷した. 混乱の中、朝の通勤途中の労働者も巻き込まれた. 1年後のこの日、ニューヨークの世界貿易センタービルが破壊され、この地元での出来事は忘れ去られた.

The s11 protests were a community response to the World Economic Forum (WEF) held at Crown Casino Melbourne in September 2000. Protesters picketed the Casino, trying to bring attention to how the WEF helps global businesses to increase profits by increasing inequality and environmental degradation. Most protesters adhered to the ethos of non-violent, civil disobedience. At dawn on the third and final day of the protest, the Labour state government of Steve Bracks ordered a mass-mobilisation of police to break the picket-line by force. The police wore no identification. The protesters were vastly outnumbered and several were injured in the chaos. Bewildered workers on their morning commute were also caught up. One year later to the day, s11 became 911 and this local event was forgotten.








In 2001 I exhibited these portraits in their original form – two hundred and seventy-one degraded and distressed photographs as a single work. They were arranged as archetype-faces in place of the kanji of the Heart Sutra, in correct order so that they can be read as that text if one has the dictionary to decode it. I’ve revisited these portraits a lot since then. They are still the Heart Sutra. Still 271 characters that tell a mysterious and difficult truth. I paint these faces the way a calligrapher writes kanji, practising and practising a form that already exists. Aside from the sad fact that the events that gave rise to their birth as portraits has remained topical, I’m still deeply interested in them, in who they are or who they might have been. I want to free them from their photographic sameness. But it is also important to me to be faithful to the visual noise, the qualities of grain, whether the photo was taken with flash or with available light: the obsessions of the photographer in me. A lot of the layering is just me trying to get the basics right and painting over mistakes. Most of what I know about painting I learned using Tipp-Ex in high school. I paint until the likeness appears. I overwork it. It falls apart and disappears. I keep painting. It returns. I start another. The process repeats. Likenesses appear out of nothing.

色不異空 空不異色 色即是空 空即是色

Form is not different to emptiness. Emptiness is not different to form. Form is indeed emptiness. Emptiness is indeed form.

I only just realised that each face is in fact the entire Heart Sutra. 今になって気づいたのですが、それぞれの顔は実は般若心経の全体像なのですね. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This exhibition was initially scheduled to open last year on the 20th anniversary of s11 but was cancelled due to COVID. This exhibition at Rubicon ARI includes work created for that show as well as new work.

Benjamin Uno is an artist and educator based in Naarm (Melbourne). He holds degrees in Fine Art from VCA and Monash University and is a student of Kagoshima-based calligraphy master Ishihara Sotei. His work is held in collections in Japan and Australia, including the National Gallery of Australia.

The artist acknowledges that this exhibition is being held on the unceded lands of the Kulin nation and pays his respects to their elders past, present and emerging. The artist would like to thank his partner Caz Guiney for her support in the development of this project. 烏野ユリ子さん、烏野恵子さん、深い感謝にあげます. 俺の第二家族いつもに恩返しをしたいと思います.

List of works

Gallery 1)

Protester 味 (2020) ink, paper, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 80 x 80cm $1500

Police officer 自 (2020) ink on paper 29 x 21cm $400

Protester 集 (2020) ink on canvas 152 x 107cm $3000

Gallery 2a)

Protester 阿 (2020-1) ink, tea, synthetic polymer on paper 150 x 117cm $3000

Bystander 竟 (2019) ink, paper, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 102 x 95cm $2000

Protester 礙 (2020) ink, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 109 x 88cm $2000

Protester 味 (2019) ink, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 81 x 73cm $1500

Police-officer 般 (2020-1) ink, animal sizing, coffee, turmeric powder, beeswax, synthetic polymer on paper 190 x 148cm $3300

Gallery 2b)

Bystander 相 (2020-1) ink, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 116 x 91cm $2000

Police-officer 實 (2020) ink, synthetic polymer on canvas 111 x 86cm $2000

Protester 壱 (2020) ink, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 106 x 79cm $2000

Gallery 3)

Protester 想 (2021) ink, turmeric powder, synthetic polymer, oil-based markers on canvas 115 x 102cm $2000

Police-officer 離 (2020) ink, paper, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 111 x 105cm $2000

Protester 眼 (2020-1) ink, synthetic polymer on canvas 111 x 102cm $2000

Police-officer 世 (2020-1) ink, paper, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 101 x 81cm $2000

Bystander 怖 (2020) ink, synthetic polymer on found cardboard 103 x 103cm $2000

Protester 僧 (2020-1) ink, synthetic polymer, wax pencil on canvas 81 x 66cm $2000

Police-officer 遠 (2019) ink, paper on found cardboard 115 x 91cm $2000

Protester 除 (2020-1) ink, synthetic polymer on canvas 111 x 102cm $2000

Bystander 上 (2020) ink, synthetic polymer on canvas 111 x 91cm $2000

Queensberry St window

Protester 槃 (2020) ink on found cardboard 101 x 76cm $2000

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