“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”
Henri L. Bergson
Just because you do not see something, does not mean it is not there. Or, paradoxically enough, sometimes it can both be there and not – just like Schrödinger’s cat. Or like Liu Bolin.
“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” Lao Tzu
Chinese contemporary artist and social critic Liu Bolin, also known as “the invisible man”, is well known for his invisibility illusion. If you think that his images were created solely using photoshop or similar photo editing tools, you would be wrong. Bolin uses camouflage technique to hide himself or others into a selected background, and his art is the result of patience, paint and photography. The outcome is an illusion of an invisible person, and it invites the viewer to play Bolin’s own version of “where is Waldo?”.
“The best teachers are those that show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” Alexandra K. Trenfor
While his creative art combines different techniques and genres (including body art, performance and photography), Bolin also wants to convey a deeper message with his work. After the demolition of his art studio in the artist dense village Suo Jia Cun in Bejing, China in 2005, Bolin was provoked enough to create the “Hiding in the city” series as a silent protest. Since then Bolin has travelled world-wide continuing the “Hiding in the city” series as well as creating other series such as “Target”, “UN global goals campaign 2015”, and recently “Art Hacker”. Bolin’s works all explore the relationship and power (im)balance between governments and the people, and by making himself invisible, Bolin highlights the individual’s helplessness against exterior forces.
Bolin uses his creativity and art to raise awareness, and he often reacts to contemporary (political) events, such as the Charlie Hebdo attack, Obama’s visit to China, the smog problem in Bejing or the recent refugee crisis.
If you are interested in getting to know Bolin better, read the following interviews (Hacking Art in New York – A Liu Bolin Interview, Liu Bolin – An Interview with “The Invisible Man”) and watch his TED talk:
Or if you are in New York, you can also visit the Klein Sun Gallery.
Courtesy of Klein Sun Gallery
and the artist, © Liu Bolin