Artist Liu Bolin is often referred to as “the invisible man” because of his creative practice that involves him using his body as a camouflage effect, merging himself with the surrounding environment. Bolin paints his body to become a part of the artwork, wearing clothes that are painted down to the last detail. The concept behind his work is that for personal reasons, he felt he had to hide his artistic practices, therefore he hides himself in his work, quite literally, and creates a protective barrier between himself and the creatively restrictive home Chinese government with his artwork. The work is a silent protest against Chinese governments for their lack of protection towards Chinese artists. Bolin’s detailed optical illusions use his body as the foundation for expression in his paintings; his presence and the ability to move also makes it performance art.
The performance “The Gun Rack” took place at Eli Klein Fine Art in New York, where Bolin and a team of four painters helped him cover himself in paint to disappear into the environment of a gun artillery. The performance started with covering himself in a suit with vaseline over his hair and skin to prepare for the application of paint. While the suit was customised to match the background, the added paint on his body takes the illusion that step further into blending in with the background. Once completed, he proceeded to peel off the paint.
Yves Klein employs female models as “living paintbrushes” to create his paintings, using their natural bodies as an imprint on his canvas’. This type of performance art interests me and is influencing the continuation of my drawing practice.
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