Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Liu Bolin: Hiding Everywhere

Why is it governments feel threatened by artists? I ask because history is rife with stories of artists being jailed, their art destroyed and their studios demolished. In modern times, the dubious distinction seems to belong to the Chinese government. (Remember my blog on Ai Wei-Wei? Archive: May, 2012)

In 2005, the Beijing artist village with about 100 studios was razed by the government. Among the artists who suffered the loss was Liu Bolin (1973-) - an internationally recognized artist who has exhibited his photography and sculpture all over the world.

Bolin understood that the government regarded art as unimportant and artists as being without social status. With that in mind, Bolin created the series "Hiding in the City." It was a silent protest to the role of artists in the culture.

He photographed himself in scenes of soldiers, temples, "Made in China" toy stores, and all sorts of scenes. He had himself painted to match the scene as the "Invisible Artist." (The painting of his body can take as long as 10 hours!)

Below are some of Bolin "hiding." (Click on image to enlarge)

What do you think of his silent protest?


  1. What an amazing and creative artist! I can't help but think he must also have a sense of humor! Janie

  2. What a clever thing to do, his subtle joke on the government. Right now we have a local issue: the Chinese government is trying to force a Corvallis man to remove a mural from the front of his store because it depicts Tibetans being abused by the police. They don't "get" freedom of speech. sz

  3. I remember seeing his pieces where he painted himself. An amazing artist. And so sad that artists are given such low regard. Roka

  4. Really neat. Talk about hiding in plain sight, love it! Brtt

  5. This just shows how hard it is to keep people from expressing themselves. Good for him. Hope he is ok.

  6. I was touched by his expression of his art. In such a difficult environment it's really something. MAR