Meet Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist who loves to get lost in his work—literally.
Bolin, who holds an M.F.A. from China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, knows how to make himself disappear right in public. The secret? You just have to become part of the canvas.
Bolin’s “Hiding in the City” series is a creative set of photographs depicting the artist himself standing in various scenes, his fully-clothed body painted to match the background with an expert precision. Bolin is surprisingly hard to see in most of the images. Amazing what a solid ten hours of patient, artistic labor can accomplish for a person!
Think you might need to disappear while loitering in front of a cannon someday? Well, Bolin shows us how it can be done:
Or perhaps you know about some random, sweet pile of rubble in your neighborhood that really needs an invisible man or woman to accompany it? Bolin leads the way:
And then, of course, there’s always the option of vanishing in front of a colorfully graffitied wall. Something everyone should be doing with their spare time:
There’s a good reason for Bolin’s disappearing act. In 2005, when he was living in Beijing’s northeastern village of Suojiacun, the Chinese government decided to bulldoze the area and displace Bolin and a hundred or so other artists from their homes. “Hiding in the City” is a direct result of this experience and a creative reaction to the persecution of artists in China.
The project is also meant to portray the rebellion against society’s “system”—a system that left Bolin feeling like he didn’t really fit in anywhere.
These photographs may seem a little weird, but they do tell a very interesting story. It’s a story about a man fighting against the powers that be—with paint. Think about it this way… Bolin could be standing right next to you, and you’d never know it:
How cool is that?