Chinese artist Liu Bolin takes camouflage trickery to a new level in his recent exhibition at the Eli Klein Fine Art Gallery in New York. Bolin has spent years perfecting these overwhelming, invisible illusions’, in which he paints himself to blend in with complex backgrounds and billboards. Perfecting the painting can take up to 10 hours, but the final image is eye capturing, making it hard to see where he ends and where he begins.
Also known as “The Invisible Man”, Liu Bolin’s most popular works are from his “Hiding in the City” series; photographic works that began as performance art in 2005. He belongs to the generation that came of age in the early 1990s, when China emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution and was beginning to enjoy rapid economic growth and relative political stability. The timing had a strong influence on the powerful message behind Bolin’s work, which portrays his feelings towards his role in Chinese society. Using his art as a means of silent protest, he called attention to the lack of protection Chinese artists had received from their own government; creating a space for the Chinese artist, preserving their social status and highlighting their often troubled relationship with physical surrounding’s. He says, “Each one chooses his or her path to come into contact with society and the external world, I chose to merge mine with the environment”.