Liu Bolin, China & Censorship / The Invisible Man & "Hiding in the City" [art]



With China tightening electronic communication -- dropped calls after the word "protest" has been used, interruption of VPNs, and restricted internet access, the artwork of Liu Bolin seems especially relevant. Liu Bolin is a Chinese artist who created the widely exhibited series "Hiding in the City" -- a collection of photographs where Liu literally is camouflaged into the background of his environment. As Liu has written about his work

/////In my photography, historical statues, costumes and architecture become symbols of that which confines us. I am expressing the desire to break through these structures. I portray subjects that seem to disappear into these structures and become transparent. The subject is released from social constructs and he is free./////



Liu's work is squarely grounded in the political context of China -- a context wrought with censorship and incarceration of dissidents in mental hospitals. As he notes, Liu began this series after authorities shut down Beijing's Suo Jiacun (Artist Village) in 2006 as the government grew threatened by the community of artists. A silent protest against the persecution of artists, Liu poses for up to 10 hours to perfect his disguise and photographs. Liu shares that he is engaging in a "silent protest against the environment for the survival, the protest against the state."