Incredible Photos of the Artist Who Makes Himself Invisible | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
Current Issue
July / August 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

(Courtesy Eli Klein Fine Art, (c) Liu Bolin)

Incredible Photos of the Artist Who Makes Himself Invisible

Look closely at these photographs. Shut down by the Chinese government, Liu Bolin has mastered the art of disappearing

Liu Bolin remembers what it feels like to truly be invisible. In 2005, the Chinese government shut down Beijing’s thriving art village, Suo Jia Cun, demolishing some 100 studios, including Liu’s. He protested the state’s treatment of artists with a photographic series, Hiding in the City. “I was a meaningless person, according to society,” Liu says. “Those years made me feel like people can exist or completely disappear.”

Liu disappears. He stands still for hours as an assistant paints him to match his surroundings. Liu hopes his works—like the one above, where he blends into propaganda art (look for his shoes under the white-jacketed soldier)—will compel people to ponder the often contentious relationship between the individual and society.

Through the Eye

Liu Bolin
(Courtesy Eli Klein Fine Art, (c) Liu Bolin)

JR Through the Eye of Liu Bolin, 2012

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus