“hiding in the city” by liu bolin

"Pig," Bai Yiluo. Image and close up of details.

On a recent weekend stroll through Soho here in New York City, I passed by the Eli Klein Fine Art Gallery who are at the forefront of Contemporary Chinese Art with a focus on the new visual art of China. The vast works they have exhibited have often inspired me and their current viewings are no exception. Although the robust pig created by Bai Yiluo (shown above) valiantly held its own in the gallery’s window and front corridor, it was a series of work by Liu Bolin that truly captivated me.

Titled, “Hiding in the City,” it features large photographic prints of urban landscapes where the artist has had himself painted into the scene. On initial glance, you suspect it is merely a landscape photograph but on closer inspection, realize it includes a human form.

Political and powerful, it was inspired by the Chinese government’s demolition of Suo Jiacun Artist Village in Beijing in 2006. The artist stated that it was a silent protest against the environment for the survival and against the state. His intention is to show how city surroundings affect people living in them.  In some instances, he stood silently for ten hours as his collaborators perfectly painted his disguise within a setting. His message of political protest has garnered international attention and bridges the gap between language and culture.

Although the complete works from this second solo show at the gallery closed earlier this summer, highlighting works (including some of the images shown below) from this exhibition remain. Check the gallery’s website for further information.

"hiding in the city" works by liu bolin.

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