Invisible Men Liu Bolin landscapes

What is red, green, orange, brown, gray and invisible all over? Liu Bolin is beyond a master of disguise, his carefully constructed camouflage clothing renders him completely unseen even in urban contexts. He’s best known for his “invisible men” photographs masterfully making use of body paints to render him (and others) nearly impossible to spot in their surroundings.

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Invisible Men Liu Bolin architecture

This artist has good reason to go invisible: the Chinese government has gone so far as to shut down his art studio in the past, making these photographs a form of protest as well as public artworks about displacement and hiding in plain site.

Invisible Men Liu Bolin camouflage in China

Some of his pieces carry an overtly political message, featuring him in front of famous landmarks, national flags or in the grips of military personnel or party officers. Others are more subtle in their meaning and open to interpretation.

Invisible Men Liu Bolin camouflage makeup

From pants, shirts and boots to jackets, hats and faces, every inch of him and/or his subjects is painted in camouflage patterns. Whether standing in front of a shop, truck, wall, pile of rocks or combination of elements, they always disappear.

Invisible Men Liu Bolin heavy equipment

Still not convinced? How long did it take you to spot the man in the photograph above? No, this is not a trick – but it might take a few seconds to a minute for you to find him, camouflaged from head to toe and hiding very much in plain sight.

About Liu Bolin

“Better known as The Invisible Man in media circles. 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, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments which are sites of contention and criticism.”

“His ‘Hiding in the City’ series has been displayed in numerous museums and institutions across the globe. His artistic commitment began in the 1990s as China was recovering from the devastating effects of the Cultural Revolution, with its economic development on the upswing and the stabilization of its political situation. Liu’s photographs and sculptures have been exhibited in many museums and institutions worldwide. He has collaborated with prominent artists including Kenny Scharf, JR, Jon Bon Jovi, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Fernando Botero, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Annie Leibovitz.”