Chinese artist Liu Bolin‘s art is simple: paint himself into the landscape, like real camouflage. You’d think, “hey, it’s super cool! I can go peep at ladies taking a bath!” But Liu’s reasons are actually weightier: it’s “his statement about his place in society, as an outsider whose artistic efforts are not always valued, especially in his own country.”
‘Some people call me the invisible man, but for me it’s what is not seen in a picture which is really what tells the story.
‘After graduating from school I couldn’t find suitable work and I felt there was no place for me in society.
‘I experienced the dark side of society, without social relations, and had a feeling that no one cared about me, I felt myself unnecessary in this world.
‘From that time, my attitude turned from dependence into revolting against the system.’
Liu said he was further pushed on with his work when the Chinese authorities shut down his art studio in Beijing in 2005.
He said: ‘At that time, contemporary art was in quick development in Beijing, but the government decided it did not want artists like us to gather and live together.
‘Also many exhibitions were forced to close.
‘The situation for artists in China is very difficult and the forced removal of the artist’s studio is in fact my direct inspiration of this series of photographs, Hiding In The City.’
Liu’s art credentials were formed after he graduated from the prestigious Sculpture Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in China.
He said his work requires a lot of patience with him having to pose and work on his photographs for more than ten hours at a time to get it just right.
‘My job is to choose a good background where I want to be “disappeared”, and then stand there unmoved until a design has been painted on me,’ he said.