China's 'Invisible Man' blends in with painted maskes in new exhibit in Mexico

China's 'Invisible Man' blends in with painted maskes in new exhibit in Mexico
Artist Liu Bolin removing paint from his face after a performance in Mexico City.

He has an amazing power.

Chinese artist Liu Bolin has the ability to blend into any surrounding, using incredibly detailed paint schemes. Then he becomes the "Invisible Man".

One recent performance was in Mexico City, where he stood amid painted masks at the lobby of the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel.

The artist started camouflaging himself into recognisable background images as a form of protest after he watched his village destroyed by a wrecking ball in 2005.

The Chinese authorities did it to make way for construction for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Mr Liu says he sees his work as a statement on the world and its anonymous inhabitants.

"My resistance to the force of governments made me experience the life of people with no social status, no job, no family, no income and this was the emotional reason I began my series of works," he said.

The 42-year-old told The Raw Book, a collection of conversations on the beauty of people and their work: "I wanted to use my works to show the state of the artists in society and their living places that had not been protected.

"In China, if you choose to be an artist, you have chosen pain and loneliness."

In an interview with late last year, Mr Liu talked about the two major events which also influenced his work - the cultural revolution and China's rapid economic development.

He said: "The Cultural Revolution ended before I was 10 years old, but it left a huge lingering influence on our culture that has never left. Many people no longer desired to speak. Lots of families and individuals were broken."


He said his parents were not happy when he told them he wanted to be an artist.

"One day, my dad picked up my paint palette and smashed it on the ground, splashing paint as high as the ceiling. I was about 15 or 16 when that happened. In China, a career in art is very difficult and not encouraged," he said.

Despite the odds, he went on to become a world-famous artist.

So what is his advice to aspiring artists? "You need to know yourself in order to create," he said.

This article was first published on Feb 05, 2015.
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