Ken Kitano

“our face”

During the last few years, I have traveled around Japan visiting communities, festivals, schools, places of work, families, sports games and religious places _ and listening to people’s stories and taking their portraits at the various sites. This project has been to make photo portraits called ‘Portrait of our face‘ of the people in a particular group. Each photo portrait has been made by evenly printing photographs of the faces of people belonging to particular groups on top of each other. The groups include young girls in Harajuku, office workers in Tokyo, people on isolated islands in the South, fishermen of Boso Peninsula and others. The more faces get printed, the more the contours of an individual become blurred and the expression and age more ambiguous in the final portrait, which I call ‘our face‘.
The contours of an individual become blurred in a ‘Portrait of our face‘ but it expresses ‘time and light’, which should be unique to the particular group. Needless to say, there is no ranking of the cultures or people.
The project intends to link people of various positions horizontally, without regard for rank or importance, as if each one was a part of a continuous chain. It is like a big circle of images of people with no center. In the future, I plan to include people of Kosovo, Afghanistan, New York and other places in the world in the circle of our face. (The Portrait of Our Face may seem like the ‘average face’ of our generation but it is not the intention of this project to study and analyze the ‘average face’ or roots of races.)
We frequently hear the word ‘globalization’ but is the world really becoming ‘global’?
‘Globalization’ sounds like a structure where homogeneous people and a single ideology exist centering around one ‘center’ such as the United States or Tokyo. This structure seems to exclude and ignore the people on the periphery or outside of the homogeneous circle or those unwilling to enter the circle.
There is no such thing as ‘the center’ in this world. I imagine the world to be composed of many localities. The aim of this project is to help re-cast the meaning of ‘globalization’ as the accumulation of individuals and localities by presenting the faces of people of various positions and places. The portraits shown in this book are the portraits of yourself and everybody at the same time.


“one day”
Jul. 11 – Aug. 8, 2009

“Flow and Fusion”
Mar. 5 – 21, 2010


“our face project: Asia”
Nov. 26, 2011 – Jan. 29, 2012


“Now, Here, and Beyond”
Jul. 5 – Aug. 10, 2014

“gathering light”
Nov. 25 – Dec. 24, 2017