Using art and photography to make a statement is nothing new. But Beijing-based artist Liu Bolin has taken protest art to a (literally) revolutionary new place. In a February 2013 TEDTalk, Bolin, known as the “Invisible Man,” shared some of his journey as an artist and proponent of creative freedom in communist China. His work is notable for its innovative use of perspective, pattern, and color to allow the subject (usually himself) to disappear into the background of a photograph.
(** FYI: Bolin delivers his presentation in Chinese, with an interpreter, but much of the English interpretations have been cut out. If you don’t speak Chinese, you’ll want to turn on the captions to hear the interesting explanations behind his work.)
He got his start in “invisible” art in 2005 when Beijing’s International Art Camp was demolished by the Chinese government. He created the following photograph as a protest against the loss of the cultural center and creative outlet for artists in the city:
Since that first experiment, Bolin has used the artform to address everything from the preservation of historic sites to food safety. The images below confront the potential loss of the historic Italian city of Venice due to falling sea levels, and the presence of carcinogenic ingredients in all of China’s most popular instant noodle brands.
Since 2005, he has traveled all over the world posing as the “invisible man” and creating art — without the help of Photoshop — that makes people think and prompts important conversations about challenging issues.
“I think that in art, an artist’s attitude is the most important element. If an artwork is to touch someone, it must be the result of not only technique, but also the artist’s thinking and struggle in life.”
To See More of Liu Bolin’s work, check out PictureCorrect’s other articles about Ford’s invisible car ad campaign and Bolin’s collaboration with a graffiti artist in New York.
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