Now you see him, now you don’t! Chinese artist Liu Bolin chooses iconic landmarks and seamlessly camouflages himself within them, representing the social and physical changes the communist nation has undergone. Read more for details on his exhibition, “Lost in Art.”
It’s a creative and culturally-relevant game of hide-and-seek with Liu’s latest works of art.
As TIME notes, Liu selects iconic landmarks such as the Temple of Heaven or the Great Wall of China as the backdrop of his Invisible Man photos, with the desire to “direct awareness to the humanity caught between the relics of the imperial past and the sleek modern monoliths of the 21st century China.”
How does Liu do it?
Each image requires meticulous planning and execution: as both artist and performer, Liu directs the photographer on how to compose each scene before entering the frame. Once situated, he puts on his Chinese military uniform, which he wears for all of his Invisible Man photographs and, with the help of an assistant and painter, is painted seamlessly into the scene.
This process can sometimes take up to 10 hours with Liu having to stand perfectly still. Although the end result of Liu’s process is the photograph, the tension between his body and the landscape is itself a manifestation of China’s incredible social and physical change. Simultaneously a protester and a performance artist, Liu completely deconstructs himself by becoming invisible, becoming a symbol of the humanity hidden within the confines of a developing capital.
It’s almost like Liu took a cue from childhood pastimes such as Spot the Difference or Hide and Seek; he took scenes that were hiding in plain sight and turned them into a postmodern chameleon art concept.
The exhibition “Liu Bolin: Lost in Art” will be on view at the Eli Klein Fine Art gallery in New York City through May 11.