Beijing-based artist Liu Bolin hides in plain sight. Literally. Wearing military fatigues painted to match the scene behind him, he hopes to get us thinking about how we are shaped by our physical, social and cultural environment.
“Uniform thoughts and the promotion of certain educational ideas are written as slogans across the walls,” he writes in an artist’s statement. “In China, we get used to those slogans. I choose to camouflage my body into the environment so that people will pay more attention to the background’s social property by erasing the meaning of my body as an individual.”
He digitally imposes his portrait on an image of the scene so he can see what will have to be painted, and then his assistants do the actual work of painting him as he stands still, for 3 to 4 hours.
Holy! Liu Bolin’s images invite a game akin to Where’s Waldo?. In some of the Chinese artist’s incredible photos, it’s clear where he is standing; in others, like the some of the above, it’s much harder to spot the outline of his body at all. It’s for this that Bolin has been called “The Invisible Man.” More after the jump:
LIU BOLIN - Hiding in the City No. 79 - Ponte di Castelvecchio (2008)
In a series of mind-boggling pictures Liu melts into any background, almost entirely invisible in front of red phone boxes, Chinese flags and even earthquake rubble.
It means people walking by while he is carrying out his performance often have no idea he is nearby until he moves away. Liu said he wanted to show how city surroundings affected people living in them and how.
He said the inspiration behind his work was a sense of not fitting in to modern society and as a silent protest against the Government’s persecution of artists.