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Liu Bolin
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Liu Bolin
Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin

Country: China
Birth: 1973

Liu Bolin is an artist born in China’s Shandong province in 1973, and he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Shandong College of Arts in 1995 and his Master of Fine Arts from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2001. His work has been exhibited in museums around the world. Also known as "The Invisible Man", Liu Bolin's most popular works are from his "Hiding in the City" series; photographic works that began as performance art in 2005. Liu belongs to the generation that came of age in the early 1990s, when China emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution and was beginning to enjoy rapid economic growth and relative political stability. Since his first solo shows in Beijing in 1998, Liu Bolin’s work has received international recognition.

Among other international venues, his distinctive photographs and sculptures have been shown at the major contemporary photography festival Les Rencontres d'Arles and he had solo shows at Dashanzi Art Zone in Beijing (2007), Galerie Bertin-Toublanc in Paris (2007), Eli Klein Fine Art in New York (2008), Galerie Paris-Beijing in Paris and Brussels (2013), Boxart Gallery in Verona (2008), Forma Foundation for Photography in Milan (2010). To celebrate US President Obama's visit to China, he made an effigy of Obama in his honor. He now lives and works in Beijing, China.

Source: Wikipedia


Born in 1973 in the northern province of Shandong, Liu Bolin trained at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts, a student of the renowned artist Sui Jianguo, who mentored him at the beginning of his career. Liu belongs to the generation that came of age in the early 1990s, when China emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution and was beginning to enjoy rapid economic growth and relative political stability. Liu Bolin is best known for his series of performance photography Hiding in the City. Since his first solo shows in Beijing in 1998, Liu Bolin’s work has received international recognition. Among other international venues, his distinctive photographs and sculptures have been shown at the major contemporary photography festival Les Recontres d'Arles and he had solo shows at Dashanzi Art Zone in Beijing (2007), Galerie Bertin-Toublanc in Paris (2007), Eli Klein Fine Art in New York (2008), Boxart Gallery in Verona (2008/2010). He now lives and works in Beijing.

Source: Box Art Gallery


Better known as The Invisible Man in media circles. He discusses the social concerns of his home country through his artistic practice, most prominently through his ‘camouflage’ installations. Traversing mediums such as performance, photography, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments which are sites of contention and criticism.

His “Hiding in the City” series has been displayed in numerous museums and institutions across the globe. Inspired by his powerful visual messages, artists and institutions and organizations such The Louvre (Paris, France), Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, JR, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jon Bon Jovi and Kenny Scharf have invited Liu Bolin to collaborate on creative projects.

Source: Liu Bolin Studio

 

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They were to arrange the monuments and neighbourhood buildings - following the current of rationalist architecture, adopted by the fascist as the official style of the ideology - of five cities: Littoria, Pontinia, Sabaudia, Aprilia and Pomezia. Designed in the model of "the rural city", they should serve as a renewal of civilisation (Bonifica della cultura) and the so-called Mussolini's Arcadia for a "purified nation" of New Italians. This is how Littoria has been conceived, in 1932, from the mud and has been raised as the first of the five Mussolini's New Cities. Littoria was called the "jewel of Mussolini" and radiated by the combination of a stellate network of streets and curved ring roads, all converging towards the central square (Piazza del Littorio, now Piazza del Popolo). The labyrinth-like city was awaiting the new residents coming from the entire Italy to live in the empty buildings and appreciate the monumental solutions drawn upon the Roman Empire tradition. After the World War II, the city was rebaptized to Latina to obliterate its fascist past and became a temporary asylum for displaced Italians and migrants. Between 1957 and 1991, 80 000 foreigners passed by the refugee camp. They were coming from Eastern Europe, fleeing the communist regimes, from Vietnam, Northern Africa, etc. Despite the official closing of the camp in 1991, the migration is still an ongoing process. Today, the majority of newcomers originate from sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Mali… The artist describes her work: In the middle of the day, during "the siesta", when the city is hot and stuffy, the streets become empty. The pale facades of the buildings reflect the sunlight like mirrors and hurt the eyes. As in De Chirico's paintings, the palisades are playing with lights and shades. The emptiness creates an illusion that we are back in the 30s. Only the scratches and coloured patches on the walls unmask the timeworn city. From time to time, human figures flash by in the sun. These are those who get lost in this labyrinth, not knowing the rules of the city. They barely arrived there, but who gets into the labyrinth once, might not be able to wriggle out ever. Today in front of Palazzo M - built in the shape of the initial of Mussolini, a queue of immigrants is standing and waiting for their documents. Wiktoria Wojciechowska observes the city - silent witness of changing times - and recent immigrants, far from being integrated. During the conversations, they often mention the discrimination, preconceived ideas and the fear of locals; their superiority coming from the colonial past, racism. They feel suspended, awaiting decisions and documents, trapped in the city space. The locals expect to move the immigrants out of the cities; they are not to be seen, as they "change the landscape", they should be invisible. The ideology, which sponsored the constructions of the cities, is still lying under their foundation. Hidden but yet vivid, deep inside the consciousness. Looking further, Labirinto can be the metaphor of the current sociopolitical situation of all Europe, where newcomers from other continents are seeking for asylum and acceptance. The fear of locals (who might have been migrants too) remains, and politics don't promote reconciliation. The policy of fear enables the authorities to seize the control of population's thoughts and define the enemy. The works of Wiktoria Wojciechowska are juxtaposing the fascist architecture - undefined corners of streets, scattered walls, and remains of fascist sculptural iconography - and the portraits of recently arrived migrants. As they wander through a temporarily deserted city, occupying the scene of a petrified ideology, the public space, they reveal a striking contrast with this ideology embodied in the architecture.
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