Hiding in the City
A sculptor by training, Liu Bolin 刘勃麟 (born on 7 January 1973 in Shandong province, China) obtained an art degree from the Shandong Arts Institute in 1995, followed by a master’s in sculpture at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing in 2001. He studied under, then assisted, the contemporary sculptor Sui Jianguo before setting out as an independent artist.
Liu became famous for his series Hiding in the City, in which his body covered with paint mingles with the backdrop. “When I began the Hiding in the City series, my photographs reflected a refusal of fatality, and a questioning of the ties connecting me to my existence.” Everything began in 2005, when his workshop, alongside those of other artists, was destroyed in the village of Suojia, in the northern suburb of Beijing. As a sign of protest, he created a photograph in the ruins themselves, hiding himself behind the thick layers of paint covering his body. Since then, Liu has continued to camouflage himself to better reveal the contradictions in contemporary society.
What’s the secret of his own production? His “assistant-painters”, who take around ten hours and a lot of paint to make him invisible. Without ever resorting to tricks or retouching, the performance so carefully directed by Liu is then captured in time through photography. Today he is the focus of exhibitions around the world and is collected by more than thirty international museums.
More works and information: Liu Bolin's website