Liu Bolin (Chinese, b.1973) creates compelling works that combine Performance Art, photography, and protest. In his Camoflage Performance works, Liu covers himself in paint to immaculately fade into the backdrop of a photographed scene. Liu first attended the Shandong Arts Institute, later receiving an MFA in Sculpture from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. To create his works, Liu often chooses sites replete with symbols of China’s Cultural Revolution, or suggestive of the immense changes in the country since the fall of Mao Zedong’s regime.
With the help of assistants, he often takes up to 10 painstaking hours painting his own body to match a portion of the chosen site, before photographing himself standing within the scene as he blends into the background. Liu’s chosen sites range from the rubble of earthquakes in the Chinese countryside, to words from the Communist Manifesto scrawled on a wall. According to the artist, his Camoflage works are metaphors for the feeling of anonymity and ostracism he encounters as a Contemporary artist in China. After Chinese officials shut down his studio in 2005, his work became even more overtly political, in what the artist calls “a silent protest… a protest against the state.” Liu has exhibited his work in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, New York, Miami, and in other cities around the world. He currently lives and works in Beijing.