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Liu Bolin

(IN)visible. The art of Liu Bolin

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Liu Bolin
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    Born in 1973 in Shandong, China, Liu Bolin was a student at the Central Academy of Applied Art in Beijing. Growing up in a China that was going through a period of great economic development, he took his first steps in the art world during the last years of the Cultural Revolution

    Similar to the Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, the revolution significantly marked the artist’s persona as well as his visual expression. One of the events that marked the artist most was the Chinese government's demolition of an entire village inhabited by numerous independent artists, including Liu Bolin himself.

    His works were repeatedly subject to censorship in China, forcing the artist to seek support in the international art scene. The first works that managed to cross the borders of China were the photo series, Hiding in the City. Liu Bolin thus became a living testimonial of life within the People’s Republic of China. In these works he dealt with themes that would end up being central to his artistic production. He focused on the relationship between human beings and the environment, power, consumerism, memory and progress

    Over the years, Liu Bolin has camouflaged himself and “disappeared” in various places around the world. He has even done so in Milan, which is the main piece in his Hiding in Italy series of works. Not only has the artist paid homage to many places around the world, but he has also exhibited in many prestigious museums. A few examples are the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Complesso Vittoriano in Rome, the UN headquarters in New York, and the Fotografiska Museet in Stockholm. Today, Liu Bolin lives and works in Beijing.


    Liu Bolin is also known as The Invisible Man for his performances in which he vanishes and disappears into urban landscapes or aseptic places. Through the use of body painting, the artist creates works of mimetic photography in which he mergers with the surrounding space. He thus condemns the state of a modern man who loses his identity due to an increasingly materialistic and technological society.

    “It is a gesture of denunciation. What is the development of the human being today and where does it lead? Man is disappearing in his environment. Technology has brought much material development, but to remain human, what is one to do? I do not want to get lost in this maze, so I choose this form of defence. I am for an art of civil commitment“.

    His resulting works are a mix of photography, installation, performance, and body painting


    After the creation of the series, Hiding in the City in 2005, Liu Bolin shifted his attention to Italy to create the cycle of works, Hiding in Italy. He wanted to focus these works on the preservation of Italy’s historical and artistic heritage as a contradiction to what was happening in China. Colosseum is one of the most famous and iconic works of the series, showing how the artist managed to merge with one of the most important monuments of Ancient Rome in the world. 

    In 2011, Liu Bolin created another series of works entitled, Hiding in New York, in which the artist merged with some of the landmarks of the Big Apple. 

    The artist then decided to return to Italy to create a new project entitled, Fade in Italy. In this series of works, Liu Bolin decided to pay homage to Made in Italy, i.e. the production heritage of the Bel Paese that is appreciated all over the world. The artist chose companies and spaces that symbolise Italian production as the stage for his performances, to get at the primary values that characterise Made in Italy

    2015 is the year of the Migrants series of works, which addresses an important social issue for Liu Bolin. Migrants aims to narrate the current phenomenon of migratory processes from Africa to Europe. The works were created in Catania, Sicily, in the emblematic places that mark this migratory phenomenon. 


    Like other artists of his calibre, Liu Bolin has also been involved in a number of collaborations with renowned brands such as Moncler and Ruinart

    When collaborating with Moncler, Liu Bolin creates works that reflect his personal style combined with the central themes of Moncler’s mission known as the quest for adventure and engaging with nature.

    The campaign was produced for the fall-winter 2017/2018 season and also involved Annie Leibovitz, an American photographer who had worked with Moncler earlier in 2017. Thanks to Liu Bolin, Moncler has given light to a campaign capable of creating surreal imagery that echoes the artist’s typical camouflage style. The works were created to render the artist invisible, once again, but this time within the Nordic landscape of Iceland. 

    Another renowned collaboration is that of Liu Bolin and Ruinart. For the well-known Champagne brand, the artist spent over 10 days in Reims taking shots to renewal the invisible work behind the production of Ruinwart wines. With his invisibility, Liu Bolin reveals the skills of the Maison’s employees. He shows their work behind the scenes that highlights the brand’s harmony with nature as well as the skills and involvement of the workers 


    For those interested in finding out about Liu Bolin, the artist's values, and prices of works for sale, Deodato Arte offers a selection of works by the artist for sale online.

    If you are interested in knowing about Liu Bolin, values, prices, or which works will be on display at the Deodato Arte Contemporary Art Gallery, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an e-mail to [email protected]