Known as The Invisible Man, internationally renowned Beijing-based artist Liu Bolin brings his mastery of the art of camouflage to Ruinart in a newly launched collaboration.
Liu Bolin, 45, first became invisible in 2005 as a sign of silent protest when the Beijing artists’ village where he worked was razed as part of restructuring for the 2008 Olympics. He faded into the ruins by camouflaging himself using acrylic paints, posing motionless for hours, then immortalised the performance through photography, which became the first of his Hiding in the City series. Since then, he has painstakingly painted himself into supermarket shelves, news stands, a wall of Communist Party propaganda slogans, a portrait of Mao, the Great Wall of China and the Louvre Pyramid with French artist JR. He also appropriated da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Picasso’s Guernica using multiple human subjects as his canvas that were then posted online in targeted Google image search results as his way of hacking the art world. He has created futuristic heads made from electronic circuits and copper wires concealing video cameras, live-streamed Beijing’s smog from 24 mobile phones attached to an orange lifejacket he wore, and created a giant iron fist sculpture facing downwards in opposition to the revolutionary symbol of the fist raised towards the sky, as part of the political and social commentary that pervades his art, tackling issues like consumerism, financial power and pollution.
Now the artist from Binzhou, Shandong province, who made his own toys as a child, studied sculpture at art school and whose creations are closely intertwined with a rapidly modernising China, turns his attention to Ruinart in its latest annual artist collaboration that continues the longstanding relationship between the Reims-based champagne house and the art world. After a 10-day residency at Maison Ruinart last August, he carried out eight photo-performances, carefully selecting the different sites, the Ruinart employees who would vanish into his photos, the lighting,