THE Buddha’s feet blistered and swollen or indistinct and changing: the series of paintings mentions ‘the sleeping Buddha’ even though the soles of the feet on the canvases convey the impression of Buddha who has travelled far. And not only far, but not bound by origin or confined by direction.
This series by Ugo Untoro in his recent solo exhibition at the National Gallery presents a figure like that depicted by the 9th century Chinese Buddhist figure Linji Yixuan: one heeding dharma who ‘is above shape and form, not rooted or planted in any place, nor abiding in any abode, yet lives forever.’
In other words, Ugo’s Buddha is the Buddha who walks below, in the dust, slowly, easily forgotten. He is not the Buddh...