Gallery TEDTalks

10 stunning images from Liu Bolin, the disappearing man

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May
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Hiding in New York No. 7 — Made in China, 2012. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin’s images invite a game akin to Where’s Waldo?. In some of the Chinese artist’s incredible photos, it’s clear where he is standing; in others, like the one above, it’s much harder to spot the outline of his body at all. It’s for this that Bolin has been called “The Invisible Man.”

Liu Bolin: The invisible manLiu Bolin: The invisible manIn today’s TED Talk, Bolin shares the meaning behind these images — that they are a way to examine the relationship between culture and its development, and to speak for those who are rendered invisible by the Chinese government, by consumer culture or simply by the circumstances of history.

“From the beginning, this series has a protesting, reflective and uncompromising spirit,” says Bolin.  “I think that in art, an artist’s attitude is the most important element. If an artwork is to touch someone, it must be the result of not only technique, but also the artist’s thinking and struggles in life.”

In this talk, Bolin shows us the very first image in the series, taken in November of 2005. He reveals many, many more images too, giving a peak into his process of being painted into the background — which can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to 3 to 4 days. The talk ends with a timelapse, showing how Bolin disappeared into the TED stage. Watch the talk now »

Meanwhile, in this gallery, Bolin shares many more of his fantastical and powerful images, courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art.

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Hiding in the City No. 92 — Temple of Heaven, 2010. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Teatro alla Scala, 2010. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City — Mobile Phone, 2012. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City No. 91 — Great Wall, 2010. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City — Family Photo, 2012. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City No. 86 — Bird’s Nest, 2009. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City No. 16 and No. 17 — People’s Policeman, 2006. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Dragon Series — Panel 3 of 9, 2010. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City No. 71 — Bulldozer, 2008. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

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Hiding in the City No. 94 — In The Woods, 2010. Photo: courtesy of Eli Klein Fine Art, © Liu Bolin

Read a Q&A with Bolin from TED2013, in which he talks a bit more about his process »

For more information on Liu Bolin, and to see much more of his work, head to his site at Eli Klein Fine Art »

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