LIU BOLIN /// THE INVISIBLE MAN
Born in China, 1973.
Lives and works in Beijing, China
1995 B.A., Shandong University of Arts, Jinan, China
2001 M.F.A., Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
LIU BOLIN'S STATEMENT
China is undergoing one of the most dramatic transitions in the history of the world. The acceleration of change echoes throughout our society and beyond our borders. Inevitably the changes result in both stimulation and trauma. The past is disappearing and the present is in constant flux. China is becoming more and more dynamic as Western concepts, ideas and morals permeate the country. The result is a kind of bipolar culture. As the psychological and physical infrastructures of China are demolished, new infrastructures are built. We do not know how long the vestiges of the past will remain. This new horizon, constructed of both the old and the new, inspires awe and intrigue. However, it is often too much to bear. How do we face this kind of transition? How do we communicate within this chaos? How do we maintain our own individuality? How do we break away from the past?
The new China evolved from the experimental period of 1949 to 1976. In my photography, there are images of the Eastern Red train with peeling paint, a huge statue base missing the iconic statue, a wall with Mao’s words scrawled in temporary places using ephemeral materials… For a moment, our brain flashes the first sentence from the Communist Manifesto, “A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of communism.” My subject resembles a Kafkian character but he is weakened. He is profoundly isolated and unaware of his surroundings, a shell without a soul. He moves from one environment to another, from one background to another, and he is just like us, changing from one job to another, from one place to another… All of these changes are meaningless, but they give us freedom and allow us to escape the confinement and the duties imposed on us by society. However, by avoiding the burdens of society, his virtues are also destroyed.
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.
With my new series of paintings, which depict images from the Chinese media, you can see the issues facing China today. Living in the red hot China, I feel that I am not in control of my own life. However, I have an indescribable burning desire inside of me. Art is a weapon that helps us untangle the chaos in our lives. I hope that my artworks can calm people down during this period of constant change, but at the same time, inspire people to re-evaluate our environment and reconsider the problems arising in our society. In this transition period, I can hear the voice of Hamlet whispering, “for in the sleep of death, what dreams may come.”
☁ LIU BOLIN
☁ LIU BOLIN @ ABC NEWS
☁ LIU BOLIN @ FUBIZ