Galerie Paris-Beijing greets Liu Bolin in Paris for a new personal exhibition entirely dedicated to his last and unreleased creations and works.
Internationally known and recognized artist for his camouflage photo-performances series Hiding in the City, Liu Bolin shows exclusively to the French public images, sculptures and installations created during the last two years. Furthermore, the exhibition reveals for the first time its amazing performances staging secrets, recreating the scenery of the work Hiding in the City – Wall (Paris, 2013). In this photo-performance, made in collaboration with the artist Rero, the wall used as a background for Liu Bolin camouflage is an extract of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights about freedom of expression. The text is crossed out by a line, according to the French artist style. This wall is set up in the gallery, as the video of the making of and the clothes covered by painting that Liu Bolin wore during the performance.
The works Pharmacy, Meat Factory (Paris, 2013) and Cancer Village (China, 2014) represent a striking reflection about chemical factories consequences on environment and health. In Cancer Village, Liu Bolin asked some inhabitants of a village dangerously polluted in the Shandong province to pose in a wheat field in order to disappear in it. On the horizon we make out the factory responsible of diseases spoiling their lives. This is the very first image of the Target series in which several characters hide themselves in sets chosen by Liu Bolin, who leads the creation of the works from the very beginning to the end.
The new series Target – Chinese Fans gathers very complex and poetic works in which different artistic mediums and sources of inspirations take part. In these works there is an overlap of Eastern and Western artistic and philosophical currents. Many figurants pose imitating the typical postures of Renaissance paintings and, thanks to the painting that Liu Bolin makes on their bodies, they recreate traditional Chinese landscapes, which remind Shanshui on fans of the Yuan or Ming age. These two artistic languages, so distant from each other, merge to represent the meeting of two main traditional thoughts: the Humanist concept of man as the centre of the universe and the Taoist search for harmony between nature and humanity. The Target – Chinese Fans photographs are printed in a large size of nearly two-meters wide and are backlit with light boxes.
The exhibition also shows the newest sculptures of Liu Bolin. Among them Fist, an iron work of more than one meter high, which had already appealed Parisians public last Spring, when it was installed on the Grand Palais entrance in its monumental version. The sculpture represents the artist left fist, engraved with the current Beijing propaganda slogan: 爱国 Patriotism, 创新 Innovation, 包容 Integration and 功德 Virtue. This fist facing the ground turns the revolutionary symbol of fist erected towards the sky upside down and might represent the end of an age. In the Magazines sculptures, Liu Bolin head seems to appear suddenly from some newspapers headlines, whereas in Security Check his figure, hands up as in sign of surrender, is entirely covered by them. We can here recognize the recurrent themes of Liu Bolin’s work, since the beginning of his career, such as freedom of thought and of expression with no fear of any censorship or persuasive propaganda.
Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in the province of Shandong and studied sculpture under the master Sui Jianguo. Performer, painter, sculptor and photographer, his works has been shown worldwide and it is henceforth part of prestigious collections.
Liu Bolin had a huge success in contemporary art fairs and international exhibitions, such as the photographic festival Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2007. The artist has been invited to the Red Mansion Foundation in London in 2008 and to the Caja Foundation in Madrid in 2009. More recently, in 2012, the Ekaterina Foundation greeted his solo show on the occasion of the Photobiennale in Moscow. In 2013, after his very noticed intervention at the Festival Images of Vevey (Switzerland) where his photographs were printed on the walls reaching monumental sizes of 600 squared meters, a retrospective of his work has been organized within the context of the Made In Asia festival in Toulouse. On Spring 2014, Fist, his monumental iron sculpture of nearly 4 meters high, has been installed on the Grand Palais entrance during the contemporary art fair Art Paris. Liu Bolin success in France and Europe will be confirmed in 2017 by an exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.