It might be hard to see — probably because Liu Bolin been disappearing into his paintings since 2005 in what began as performance art and somewhat of a political statement.
Using his body as a canvas, Bolin stands still for hours in a landscape while his assistants paint on him to create a camouflage, blending him into his surroundings.
While his art is playful, his mission is actually quite serious.
In his work, Bolin has always drawn attention to the various social problems that accompany China’s rapid economic development, making social politics the focus of his pictorial commentaries.
“There have been many social problems coming out during China’s development, and these problems are always shown in the background of my works,” Bolin wrote.
Instead of disappearing from society, he is actually looking to expose underlying conflicts between humans and the objects they create.
“I actually am questioning the environment I live in through every single one of my works, so I do not just walk around and take photos in front of random backgrounds.”
But how is it actually done?
Bolin works with a team of assistants who spend roughly 5-10 hours camouflaging him once they have selected the background.
Bolin is his own stand-in while the best angles for the images are selected, and then he changes his clothes and stands in the place that is defined, instructing his assistants on how to paint him.
It’s not so much, “Can you hear me now?” as, “Can you see me now?”
Here Bolin waits for his colleagues to put a finishing touch on him to blend into rows of soft drinks in his artwork entitled “Plasticizer.”
This piece was done to express his speechlessness at use of plasticizer in food additives.
Starting to blend in quite well…
What’s the result? Now he’s gone.
Oh, but he’s not done. Maybe take in a movie?
Or go through a walk in the forest?
How about picking out a new toy?
And while he may be known as “The Invisible Man,” what we can see is truly incredible.