Liu Bolin

The Theatre of Appearances

Tuesday to Sunday, 11pm - 6pm.
October 17, 2018 - January 27, 2019

Mobile Phones, « Hiding in the City », 2012 © Liu Bolin / Courtesy Galerie Paris-Beijing

This first retrospective museum exhibition in Switzerland brings together almost fifty monumental photographs and many sculptures illustrating the main themes addressed by Chinese artist Liu Bolin over his career: the political and economic strategies of the Chinese government, ancestral traditions and religious and cultural symbols, individual or collective acts of resistance, the transformation of the urban environment, ecological damage and a hyper-consumerist society.

In 2005, his series Hiding in the City was inaugurated with a selfportrait of the artist, immobile, covered in paint and melting into the rubble of his own studio located in the artists’ quarter razed by the Chinese government.

I decided to blend into the environment. Some would say that I disappeared into the landscape; personally, I would say that the environment swallowed me up.

Since, this artist-chameleon, with the help of his painting assistants and without any digital manipulation, becomes part of the background – eyes closed, his silhouette barely visible – and then captures the performance with a photograph. He thus poses for hours in front of a monument, a landscape, a wall or an accumulation of objects in the manner of a silent protest: the artist makes himself invisible to more effectively illustrate the visible of which he is an integral part.

Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong province in eastern China, He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Shandong before earning a degree from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2001 He lives and works in Beijing.


Marc Donnadieu, Head Curator, Musée de l’Elysée, with Emilie Delcambre-Hirsch, assistant, Exhibitions Department


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