Several years ago, Liu Bolin became an internet sensation when he posted photographs of himself covered in paint so expertly that he blended in with his background. Now he has his first UK solo show at Scream London and his works are even more impressive when enlarged and witnessed up close.
One image, where he blends in with the brightly coloured packaging of a snack aisle at a supermarket, is extraordinary and he repeats this amazing feat in front of graffiti, a bulldozer and even within a library. There is one of his earlier works on display that is more obvious, which serves to show how far his camouflaging abilities have developed.
There is also an installation featuring a painted jacket that lets visitors see how he goes about creating these photographs and confirm they are not just Photoshop trickery. There are a few pieces where we struggled to see the artist and also group shots where he has painted an array of subjects to blend in with their surroundings.
As well as being an impressive feat, there is a deeper meaning to Liu’s work. It reflects how he feels some people are treated in society as if they were invisible, and this stretches to the treatment of artists in his native China. We spoke to the artist, who said he looks for scenes he thinks represent the people of a city and he is keen to explore London and create some works here.
In every creation it feels like Liu is constantly challenging himself to take on more difficult backgrounds to blend into. These works are very skilfully executed and anybody who visits this exhibition will undoubtedly leave impressed.
Liu Bolin: The Heroic Apparition is on at Scream, 27-28 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8DH until 10 May. Admission is free.