Liu Bolin has earned himself the nickname "The Invisible Man," and once you look at these pictures, it's easy to see why. The Chinese artist is a master of the art of disappearance. He uses his body as a canvas, painting himself so carefully that he blends in perfectly with his surroundings. The following images, sampled from Bolin's various projects over the past few years, are not only stunning to look at — they powerfully critique the restrictive Chinese government.
Here, Liu prepares himself for a shoot in which he will blend in with a grocery store's produce section. Watch his incredible transformation:
Here he is, done, and nearly invisible:
The 41–year–old Beijing native conceptualizes his art as a voice for those in modern China who are made to blend in and stay silent. Many artists and activists oppose what they consider a consumerist, conformist society and a government that suppresses free speech and expression. Liu talks about these ideas further in his fascinating TED talk.
Here, Liu's assistants help him blend into a soft drink aisle at a supermarket. Entitled "Plasticizer," the work protests Chinese beverage companies' use of cancer–causing industrial plasticizers in their products.
In China, one must criticize in silence. Liu does so by disappearing into a shelf of poisonous drinks.
Unsurprisingly, "The Invisible Man" has received international acclaim. Liu has performed his art all over the world. Here he blends into a staircase in Paris:
Liu has managed to avoid serious persecution by the Chinese government. The same can't be said of other artists, like the famous Ai Weiwei, who have been subjected to random arrests under bogus claims.
Liu says in his TED Talk, "From the beginning, this series has a protesting, reflective and uncompromising spirit." Let's hope he's able to continue expressing that spirit through his incredible work.
All images via Imgur