Thursday, 4 August 2011

China's 'Invisible Man'

I may have been a bit invisible lately, and a bit... erm ... patterned. But it is nothing compared to the Chinese artist Liu Bolin who paints himself to match particular locations so as to appear invisible in them.

These pictures are from a series called 'Hiding in the City' - each one can take up to ten hours to get just right.

It is both a way of protesting the Chinese government’s persecution of artists, and also about not fitting into society.

I wouldn't usually quote the Daily Mail (did I mention we have to keep it 'under the counter' at the library because it was getting stolen all the time?!?) but this quote is from an interesting article about him HERE: He said:

'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.

'After graduating from school I couldn't find suitable work and I felt there was no place for me in society. I ... had a feeling that no one cared about me, I felt myself unnecessary in this world.

'The situation for artists in China is very difficult and the forced removal of the artist's studio is in fact my direct inspiration of this series of photographs.'

I'm no expert on art, but I sort of understand the feeling. Do any of you have 'invisible' days too?

An online gallery of his pictures is featured at Eli Klein at least until the end of September


  1. You'll be telling us next that library assistants are real people too.

  2. Hello Clare:
    The ultimate art of camouflage indeed. Bolin's work is absolutely fascinating and what really appeals to us is the way in which the viewer is encouraged, forced even, to keep looking at the work in order first to find him and secondly to try and make sense of what one then sees. We think that it is a powerful form of expression and cleverly done.

  3. This is very interesting, thank you. A sort of Chinese Ban Xi. Has he ever been called upon to attend an identity parade, would you know?

  4. It took me quite a while to find him in the one with backhoe. I think this is fascinating and it's an interesting way to make a statement. I wonder if he rides the subway home, and, if so, what kinds of reactions he gets?

  5. Cool. The concept is so clever.

    And yes. Sometimes invisible is my middle name. :Le sigh:

  6. Dave - As if!

    The H's - It's almost like those 'magic eye' pictures that you have to look at in a certain way to see the picture, isn't it?

    Christopher - I'm not familiar with Ban Xi, but I like the way it sounds like Banshee.

    MsCaroline - Maybe he has a coat painted like a subway seat and so never has to pay?

    Maria - I'm glad it's not just me!

  7. If you, "...sort of understand the feeling," you're probably as much of an expert on art, as anyone. Trust me, I studied aesthetics.

  8. The fact that he is able to speak this openly, not only in plain language but indeed with his art shows an important change in China. In fact Chinese artists are moving up in the world, becoming hot commodities in the world art market.