March 3, 2011

Invisible Man: Liu Bolin


what do you see?

Supermarket II (Series 'Hide in the City')
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Yes, there's a man in the supermarket aisle! It's the incredible Invisible Man, aka Chinese artist Liu Bolin. His amazing series of photos, Hiding In The City, features him painted to blend into the background in a variety of places. He has two assistants cover him from head to toe in paint to camouflage him. Each final photograph can take him up to 10 hours to make. Sometimes he stays still in his chosen spot once "invisible", waiting to catch unsuspecting passers-by unaware.

"Some people call me the invisible man, but for me it's what is not seen in a picture which is really what tells the story...I experienced the dark side of society, without social relations, and had a feeling that no one cared about me, I felt myself unnecessary in this world," says Liu.
His work is also a protest against the Chinese government, which shut down his art studio in 2005. "I want my viewers to experience China as I know it, where the concept of artists as human beings was once neglected," says the artist, who was born in Shandong in 1973.

If you happen to be in Paris, lucky you! You can see his works at the Liu Bolin exhibition at the Galerie Paris-Beijing from February 24 to April 12, 2011.

These are a few of my favorite Liu Bolin shots. He has truly perfected the art of blending into the landscape. Can you see him at these Chinese icons?

Hiding in the City No. 89 - Forbidden City
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Hiding in the City No. 92- Temple of Heaven
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Hiding in the City No.91 - Great Wall
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

National Stadium
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

He does his disappearing act in many environments...

Hiding in the City No. 94 - In the Woods
by Liu Bolin via Artnet
{ isn't this spooky?? he really just melts into the background }

Pile of Coal (Series 'Hide in the City')
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Hiding in the City No. 14 - Er Guo Tou White Wine Factory
by Liu Bolin via Artnet
{ i love the blue in the photo above }

Hiding in the City No.34 - The East is Red
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Liu Bolin hidden in foreign icons

Teatro alla Scala
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Canal Grande, Ponte di Rialto
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Hiding in the City No. 65, Telephone Booth
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Hiding in the City No. 62 - American National Flag
by Liu Bolin via Klein Sun Gallery

And a few photos from his 2010 Dragon series

Hiding in the City - Dragon Series, No. 1 of 10 panels
by Liu Bolin via Artnet

Hiding in the City - Dragon Series, No. 3 of 9, 2010
by Liu Bolin via Klein Sun Gallery

See him in action, here's a link to videos on Liu Bolin. And this is a trailer for a video of him at work in Italy, produced by Mazen for a show in Milan in October 2010.

"Liu Bolin-Hiding in Italy" Trailer
from Mazen on Vimeo.

another take on the documentary: Liu Bolin in Italy video at Mazen's website (click projects...liu bolin...view videodocumentary on the project)

click here for photos of the making of the video of Liu Bolin in Italy on Mazen's Facebook page

Liu Bolin found via Invisible Man - Fubiz

Dutch artist Desiree Palmen also does a fabulous disappering act.

Interior Camouflage in Rotterdam
by Desiree Palmen

Life is Short by Desiree Palmen

The artist, 48, paints the camouflage by hand onto cotton suits so she or a model can disappear into the background. The masterpieces are photographed and filmed.
"People always react strongly when they see my work.
They have mixed reactions: confusion, surprise and interest."
   - Desiree Palmen, quoted in the Daily Mail

Desiree Palmen in Jerusalem Old City, 2006

"My interest comes from the idea of fear as a selling point that legitimises increasing surveillance. In the case of Europe it is sold as something that is for protection and for the good of the population but it is about control, power and investment. This is something that concerns us all and I think the degree of surveillance in Israel was an indication at that time of where we were heading." 

Another artist who has done similar work is Australian Emma Hack. In her Wallpaper collections, she painted models blended into Florence Broadhurst wallpaper backgrounds. 

Emma Hack Wallpaper series via designboom

Thanks for reading!

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Related links
Liu Bolin in New York, graffiti (fubiz)

by liberal sprinkles

In words and images, Stairway to Heaven
explores contemporary urban space
through the eyes of eighteen cutting-edge
Chinese artists, including Liu Bolin.


Mari said...



Kristen said...

This is AMAZING! I'm sitting here in awe. I thought they might have been photo-shopped until I watched the video. Thanks for sharing :)

Felicity said...

Thank you for sharing this artistic phenomenon, I've never seen anything like it = truly brilliant!

Felicity x

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