Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China and studied sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, graduating with an MFA in 2001.
Better known as “The Invisible Man” in media circles, Liu Bolin sprang from a generation of artists struggling with the consequences of the Cultural Revolution and the rapid economic development in the decades after. He discusses the social concerns of his home country through his artistic practice, most prominently through his ‘camouflage’ installations. Traversing mediums such as performance, photography and social activism, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments which are sites of intrigue, contention and criticism. His "Hiding in the City" series has been displayed in numerous museums and institutions across the globe. Inspired by his powerful visual messages, artists and institutions and organizations such The Louvre (Paris, France), Harper's Bazaar Magazine, JR, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jon Bon Jovi and Kenny Scharf have invited Liu Bolin to collaborate on creative projects. In 2013, Liu presented a TED talk in Long Beach, California. In 2015, Liu was selected by United Nations backed campaign The Global Goals to create an image that conveyed 17 goals – including ending poverty, encouraging sustainable development and fight inequality and injustice – where he hid himself within 193 flags of the world. In 2016 he participated in a collaboration with Annie Leibovitz and Moncler for their Spring/Summer 2017 Campaign.
Liu’s work has been exhibited worldwide in solo shows including exhibitions Liu Bolin, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2017, forthcoming); Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City, Boise Art Museum, ID (2015); Disappearing, Museo de Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015); Liu Bolin, Dennos Museum, Traverse City, MI (2015); Liu Bolin, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Germany (2013); Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, VT (2013); Liu Bolin, The Longyear Museum of Anthropology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY (2012-2013); Liu Bolin: A Secret Tour, Museo H.C. Andersen, Galleria Nazionale d’ArteModerna, Rome, Italy (2012); The Invisible Man, Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow, Russia (2012), The Invisible Man, Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2011); Hiding in Italy, Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia, Milano, Italy (2010); and Hiding in the City, El Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Venezuela (2010).
His group shows include Up in Arms: Taking Stock of Guns, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT (2016); Sublimina, Museo Delle Mura, Rome, Italy (2016); Chinascape: From Rural to Urban, Spazioborgogno, Milan, Italy (2016); In Plain Sight: The Natural Story of Camouflage & Concealment, Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK (2016); Invisible Threads: Technology and its Discontents, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016); Art From The Streets, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2016); We Are What We Eat, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY (2016); TAKE ME OUT, Chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Focus on the Future – What Makes Us, Tokyo International Photography Festival, Art Factory Jonanjima, Japan (2015); Immortal Present: Art and East Asia, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (2015); INTERACT: Deconstructing Spectatorship, North Wing of The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London, UK (2015); Chinese Contemporary Photography: 2009-2014, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2014); East by South East, OBS Gallery, Tonbridge School, Kent, UK (2014); Seeing the Unseen, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL (2014); Religion, Ritual, and Performance in Modern and Contemporary Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH (2013); TED 2013, The Long Beach Performing Arts Center, CA (2013); Incarnations, Photographie-Performance de Chine, Institut Confucius des Pays de la Loire d’Angers, France (2013); Inner Journeys, Maison Paticulière Art Center, Brussels, Belgium (2013); Harper’s Bazaar: Inside the Magazine, Yermilov Center, Kharkiv, Ukraine; Korobchinskiy Center, Odessa, Ukraine; Izolyatsia, Donetsk, Ukraine; Museum of Modern Art, Kiev, Ukraine (2012); Performing for the Camera, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ (2012); Changement de Décor, Festival des Arts Visuels de Vevey, Switzerland (2012); Scenes from Within: Contemporary Art from China, Biennale della Fotografia, Bogotá, Colombia (2011); Back and White, Zero Art Center, Beijing, China (2011); Exhibition of the Neuflize Collection MAC de Marseille, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Marseille, France (2011); The Right to Protest, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel (2010); The Big World: Recent Art from China, Chicago Cultural Center, IL (2009); Animamix Biennial, Shanghai MoCA, China; Taipei MoCA, Taiwan; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2009); International Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition, Seoul Art Museum, Korea (2009), and Les Rencontres d'Arles, France (2007). Liu Bolin's work is included in highly prestigious individual, corporate, foundation, and museum collections worldwide.
Liu Bolin currently lives and works in Beijing.