Meet the "Invisible Man"

Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:54am EDT
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By Ki Joon Kwon

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Now you see him, soon you won't: Chinese performance artist Liu Bolin can camouflage himself so well that he becomes practically invisible.

Beijing-based Liu, or the "Invisible Man," vanishes, chameleon-like, into walls, doors, vehicles and even people by staying perfectly still as assistants paint him in the exact colors and textures of the object he is standing infront of.

The 37-year-old contemporary artist, who deliberately wears army fatigues before every transformation, says his works manifest the increasing alienation of modern man.

"My art is cultural, it represents the diminishing humanity in today's society. I use my art as a retrospective on culture, the environment and the fast-paced economic development," Liu told Reuters.

For his latest work, Liu disappeared into an intricately carved and painted doorway of a traditional Beijing courtyard house with the help of three assistants who painted him for four hours as he stood absolutely still.

Each of Liu's transformations, which are photographed and then put on display, also carry an individual message -- the doorway performance was intended to demonstrate the importance of accepting new forms of art while preserving the old.

Liu has held exhibitions at home as well as in Britain, France and Italy.

For his next performance, Liu plans to literally vanish into thin air by camouflaging himself while flying on an airplane.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

<p>Artist Liu Bolin (C), also known as the 'Vanishing Artist', is painted by assistants as he makes himself look exactly the same as the wall of an old temple in a Hutong in central Beijing August 26, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray</p>