Chinese performance artist silently protests forced eviction by becoming “Invisible Man”

January 29, 2011Jing Gao7 Comments, , , , , , , , ,

From Global Times Chinese

Liu Bolin (刘勃麟) was born in 1973 in Shandong province. He graduated from Shandong Art Institute in 1995. He is well-known for making photographs of himself camouflaged in any environment.

Each of his photos requires long hours of preparation, the longest being ten plus hours. He transforms himself into a painting canvas, and with his assistant’s help, he blends in with the background.

He said he tries to convey message through his works, “Chinese artists are in a very difficult situation. The reason why I came up with this idea is many artists’ workshops were demolished forcibly. I wanted to create a series of photos titled ‘Hiding in the City’ to protest in silence the adverse circumstances artists live in, the terrible attitudes the society takes towards art.”

Can you find him in the following pictures?




Behind him is a bulletin board for full disclosure of administration and finance.


“The People’s Police”


The Chinese character inside the circle says “(To be) Demolish(ed).” From the series “Hiding in the City”


In front of an excavator


The slogan in Chinese behind him says “Enforcing registration of voters in accordance with the law; Exercise your own right of election.”


From the series “Hiding in the City”


Inside La Scala, a world renowned opera house in Milan, Italy.


The Chinese characters from left to right read “Suojiacun” (The Suos’ Village), “Chinese Contemporary.” Suojiacun is an artistic community in Beijing, similar in nature to SoHo of New York.


Bird’s Nest, or National Stadium, was built for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and Paralympics.


Les Rencontres d’Arles (in English the Meetings of Arles), is an international photography festival hosted in the French city Arles.


On the wall is a personified panda named “Jingjing”, one of the five mascots of Beijing Olympic Games.


A diesel-hydraulic locomotive that is rarely seen today. Its Chinese name is Dongfanghong, or The East is Red.


From the series “Hiding in the City”


From the series “Hiding in the City”


From the series “Hiding in the City”


From the series “Hiding in the City”


Five mascots of Beijing Olympics, whose names together form the Chinese sentence “Bei Jing Huan Yin Ni,” or Beijing Welcomes You.


From the series “Hiding in the City”



Nine Dragons Screen in Beijing’s Forbidden City (the imperial palace)


Temple of Heaven in Beijing

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7 comments to “Chinese performance artist silently protests forced eviction by becoming “Invisible Man””

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan (賀念慈), louise clements, 長友学, Hyun Shin, Darin and others. Darin said: RT @ministryoftofu: Chinese performance artist silently protests forced eviction by becoming “Invisible Man” [...]

  2. Eli Klein Fine Art | June 14, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Liu Bolin has been doing his Hiding in the City series since 2005. It started as a political commentary on the tensions between the Chinese government and their people and the identity an environment gives an individual and vice versa. Liu Bolin will be exhibiting at Eli Klein Fine Art in New York from June 29 – August 28, 2011. Eli Klein Fine Art represents him exclusively in North and South America. More images can be found on

    • serverin | February 12, 2012 | Permalink Reply

      Political commentary,my ass. This is a typical artist looking to milk the only pathetic idea he’s ever had. His creative range is negligible. He is blog fodder. If you can sell this gimmick to some nouveau riche idiots by convincing them that it represents social commentary, and of course (the sacred word) “art”, then more power to you. There’s a sucker born every minute. Liu hasn’t had a new idea in almost a decade. Yay, art.

  3. gume | September 11, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    What i discover tough is to find a weblog that can capture me for a minute however your blog is different. Bravo.

  4. popo | October 1, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Another one-idea-artist milking it for years on end. It’s bad enough that he has zero range, and no new ideas — but in this case, someone else is doing the painting…

  5. serverin | February 12, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    One trick pony.

    First off — the “artist” is his assistant. He is a human mannequin.

    And secondly — this is more circus-trick than art.

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