One world-renowned artist has made a career out of literally blending into his own artwork.
For over a decade, Chinese artist Liu Bolin has been painting himself into backgrounds so that he looks nearly invisible. The 42-year-old, who was born in Shandong but now lives and works in Beijing, has been so good at it that he has been dubbed “The Invisible Man.”
Liu, who grew up in a China experiencing economic growth, camouflages himself into his pieces to make statements on people’s relationships with consumerism, technology and their rapidly changing surroundings.
Liu received his master of fine arts from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2001 and in addition to painting and performance art, he is also a sculptor.
He began his conceptual art with his “Hiding in the City” series in 2005 in response to the demolishment of Suo Jia Cun, the Beijing artists’ village in which he’d been working.
Destroyed by the government because they did not want so many artists together, Liu painted his body into various Beijing backgrounds to show their inseparability from the environment.
In September, he collaborated with the United Nations in releasing “The Future, a photo of himself painted into a background filled with flags from all of the UN’s 193 member states along with 17 squares representing 17 UN Global Goals.
Liu painted several prominent high fashion designers — including Angela Missoni, Jean Paul Gaultier and Alber Elbaz — into their own works for a series titled “Lost in Fashion” published in the March 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
Painting Liu’s body can take up most of a day’s hours, and he goes through a lot of clothes in order to paint them to near perfection.
“Disappearing is not the main point of my work,” Liu told CNN. “It’s just the method I use to pass on a message. To tell people if we don’t stop the way we live, or pay attention, we will all face our own disasters. It’s my way to convey all the anxiety I feel for human beings.”