Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China. He received his BA from Shandong College of Arts in 1995, and his MA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2001. Liu Bolin currently resides and works in Beijing, China. Liu’s art career began in the early 1990’s when China emerged from the crushing effects of the Cultural Revolution and began its rapid economic growth and political stability.
In Liu Bolin’s most famous series, Hiding in the City, nicknamed the ‘Invisible Man,' he paints himself to blend into a background. Liu engages his audience to look for the ‘Invisible Man,' who represent the forgotten men of the growing economic superpower, China. Traversing mediums such as performance, photography and social activism, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments which are sites of intrigue, contention, and criticism. Both Liu Bolin's photos and sculptures have been displayed in numerous museums and institutions around the world, and he has collaborated with Kenny Scharf, JR, Jon Bon Jovi, Jean Paul Gaultier, Fernando Botero, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Annie Leibovitz.
In 2013, Liu presented a TED talk in Long Beach, California, a recording of which has accumulated millions of views online. In 2015, Liu was commissioned by United Nations backed campaign The Global Goals to create an image that conveyed 17 goals – including ending poverty, encouraging sustainable development and fight inequality and injustice – where he hid himself within 193 flags of the world. In 2017, Liu was a keynote speaker at the New York Times "Art for Tomorrow 2017" conference, stressing the importance of the artist's role to convey environmental issues in their works.
Liu’s work has been exhibited worldwide in solo exhibitions including Liu Bolin, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland (2019, Forthcoming); Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man, Erarta Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia (2018); Liu Bolin. The Invisible Man, Complesso Del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy (2018); L’homme caméléon, Le DIDAM, Bayonne, France (2018); Ghost Stories, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2017); Galerie Party, Centre Pompidou – Acte II with Liu Bolin, Centre Pompidou, Galerie des enfants, Paris (2017); Migrants, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Ramacca, Catania, Italy (2017); Art Hacker, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, NY (2016); Liu Bolin Solo Exhibition, Hadrien De Montferrand Gallery, Hangzhou, China (2016); Desapareciendo, Museo de Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015); Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City, Edwynn Houk Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland; Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City, Boise Art Museum, ID (2015); Liu Bolin, Dennos Museum, Traverse City, MI (2015);
Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City, Cyrus M. Running Gallery, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN (2015); CAMALEÓN, Centro Roberto Garza Sada, Universidad de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico (2015); Liu Bolin Solo Show, Galerie Paris-Beijing, Paris, France (2015); CAMUFLAJE, Galería Oscar Román, Mexico City, Mexico (2015); A Colorful World?, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, NY (2014); In Plain Sight: Photographs by Liu Bolin, University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT (2014); Mask, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2013); Liu Bolin – ein Meister der Tarnung, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Germany (2013); Liu Bolin, Camouflages Urbains, Fondation d’Entreprise Espace Écureuil Pour l’Art Contemporain, Toulouse, France (2013); Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, VT (2013); Hidden Meaning: Contemporary Chinese Art by Liu Bolin, The Longyear Museum of Anthropology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY (2012); Liu Bolin: A Secret Tour, Museo H.C. Andersen, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy (2012); Lost in Art, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2012); The Invisible Man, Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow, Russia (2012); Liu Bolin: The Sociology of the Invisible Body, California State University Northridge Art Galleries, Northridge, CA (2012); The Invisible Man, Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2011); The Invisible Man, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2011); The Invisible Man, Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2011); Hiding in Italy, Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia, Milano, Italy (2010); and Hiding in the City, El Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Venezuela (2010); Liu Bolin, Sunshine International Art Museum, Songzhuang, Beijing, China (2010); On Fire, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2010); Liu Bolin, Bridge Art Center, Beijing, China (2008); Liu Bolin: China Report 2007, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2008); Sculpture, Hotsun Art Space, 798 Art Zone, Beijing, China (2007); and Distortion, Hotsun Art Space, 798 Art Zone, Beijing, China (2007)
Liu Bolin has been featured in group exhibitons world wide including The World to Come, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (2019); The World to Come, Gladys Gracy Harn Exhibition Hall, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (2018); Replace with Fine Art, Pearlman Gallery, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (2018); Evidence: A New State of Art, Castel Sant'Elmo, Naples, Italy (2018); Liu Bolin: Liu Bolin X Ruinart, KYOTOGRAPHIE 2018, Kyoto, Japan (2018); C'était Demain!, La Fabrik, Espace d'art contemporain, Monthey, Switzerland (2018); Biennale Archipelago Mediterranean, Cultural Shipyards alla Zisa - Palermo Dusseldorf Pavilion, Palermo, Italy (2017); 40 Years of Chinese Contemporary Photography (1976 - 2017), “Forty years of Sculpture,” Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition, Shenzhen, China (2017); Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, China (2017); The First Shandong Youth Contemporary Art Documents Exhibition, JiaJian Art Museum, Jinan, Shandong, China (2017); Sublimina, Museo Delle Mura, Rome, Italy (2016); Chinascape: From Rural to Urban, Spazioborgogno, Milan, Italy (2016); Chinascape: From Rural to Urban, Spazio Borgogno, Milan, Italy (2016); Art From The Streets, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2016); Camouflage: In Plain Sight, Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK (2016); Up in Arms: Taking Stock of Guns, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT (2016); We Are What We Eat, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY (2016); Invisible Threads: Technology and its Discontents, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016); 21C at 10: A Global Gathering, 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY (2016); Seeing Now, 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati, OH (2016); TAKE ME OUT, Chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Camaleón, Centro Roberto Garza Sada, Universidad de Monterrey, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico (2015); A Touch of Classics: 100 Chinese Contemporary Works - Charles Jing Collection of Original Photo Prints, China Millennium Monument World Art Museum, Beijing, China (2015); L’uomo Nel Paesaggio, San Pietro in Atrio, Como, Italy (2015); Immortal Present: Art and East Asia, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (2015); Target, Bienal de Performance 2015, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Focus on the Future – What Makes Us, Tokyo International Photography Festival, Art Factory, Jonanjima, Japan (2015); Psycho/Somatic: Visions of the body in Contemporary East Asian Art, John N. Stern Gallery, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College (2015); INTERACT: Deconstructing Spectatorship, North Wing of The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London, UK (2015); The Camera’s Eye, PHOTOJAX 2014, Jacksonville, FL (2014); Pho-to-graffs: Images of Hip Hop, Graffiti, and Urban Culture, Gold Coast Art Gallery, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA (2014); Challenge the Tradition - 20th Century Western Classical and Chinese Contemporary Photography, Inside - Out Art Museum, Beijing, China (2014); Seeing the Unseen, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL (2014); Les Esthétiques d’un Monde Désenchanté, Le Centre d’art Contemporain de Meymac, Meymac, France; East by Southeast, OBS Gallery, Tonbridge School, Kent, UK (2014); Chinese Contemporary Photography: 2009-2014, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2014); TED 2013, The Long Beach Performing Arts Center, CA (2013); Portrait(s) Festival, Culture Centre Valéry-Larbaud, Vichy, France (2013); Inner Journeys, Maison Particulière Art Center, Brussels, Belgium (2013); Religion, Ritual, and Performance in Modern and Contemporary Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH (2013); Skin Trade, PPOW Gallery, New York, NY (2013); War Zone Home, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Art Gallery, New York, NY (2013); Incarnations, Photographie, Performance de Chine, Institut Confucius des Pays de la Loire d’Angers, France (2013); Aura and Post Aura, The First Beijing Photography Biennale, China Millennium Monument World Art Museum, Beijing, China (2013); Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China (2013); Changement de Décor, Festival des Arts Visuels de Vevey, Switzerland (2012); Bienne Festival of Photography, Bienne, Switzerland (2012); Harper’s Bazaar: Inside the Magazine, Yermilov Center, Kharkiv, Ukraine ; Korobchinskiy Center, Odessa, Ukraine; Izolyatsia, Donetsk, Ukraine (2012); Abwehr. Überlebensstrategien in Natur, Wirtschaft, Politik und Alltag, Vögele Kultur Zentrum, Pfäffikon, Switzerland (2012); Museum of Modern Art, Kiev, Ukraine (2012); Performing for the Camera, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ (2012); Exhibition of the Neuflize Collection MAC de Marseille, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Marseille, France (2011); Urban Play, Landgent Center, Beijing, China (2011); Scenes from Within: Contemporary Art from China, Biennale della Fotografia, Bogotá, Colombia (2011); Black and White, Zero Art Center, Beijing, China (2011); The Right to Protest, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel (2010); Reflection of Minds - MoCA Shanghai Envisage III, Shanghai MoCA, Shanghai, China (2010); Passing China, Sanatorium, Istanbul, Turkey (2010); HomeLessHome, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel (2010); Armed & Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (2010); HIDEntites, mc2, Milan, Italy (2010); Animamix Biennial, Shanghai MoCA, China; Taipei MoCA, Taiwan; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2009); Shore - Contemporary Academy Sculpture Exhibition, Moon River Art Museum, Beijing, China (2009); International Contemporary Art Invitation Exhibition, Seoul Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea; Erotic - Contemporary Art Invitation Exhibition, DadiRai city Exhibition Center, Jinan, China (2009); The Big World: Recent Art from China, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL (2009); Passing By China, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2009); Camouflages, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (2009); Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers, Bates College Museum of Art, Olin Arts Center, Lewiston, ME (2008); Mixed Maze - Group Photography Exhibition, Red Mansion foundation, London, England (2008); New Middle Kingdom, Royal Liver Building, Liverpool, England (2008); Force-Form, International Contemporary Art Exhibition, Bridge Art Center, Beijing, China (2008); International Exhibition, Rome International Contemporary and Modern Art Center, Rome, Italy (2008); International Art Museum, Songzhuang, Beijing, China (2008); China Now: Lost in Transition, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY (2007); Since…Contemporary Art Exhibition, Gao Brothers Beijing Art Center, Beijing, China (2007); Olympic Landscape Sculpture Exhibition, China Millennium Monument World Art Museum, Beijing, China (2007); Memory: Contemporary Art Exhibition, New York Art Center, 798 Art Zone, Beijing, China (2007); Les Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France (2007); Made in China - Chinese Contemporary Art, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China (2007); Union - Exhibition of Chinese and Chile Artists, No. 1 China Art Base, Beijing, China (2007); Union in June: Chinese Performance Art Exhibition, Songzhuang, Beijing, China (2007); Resettling - SuoJia Village Modern Art Exhibition, Beijing International Arts Camp II Ka Tsuen, Beijing, China (2007); The First ‘Breathing’ - Shandong Modern Art Exhibition, Shandong Museum, Shandong, China (2007); Songzhuang Art Festival, Songzhuang Art Zone, Beijing, China (2006); Qingzhou International Contemporary Art Exhibition, Qingzhou Museum, Shandong, China (2006); Third Contemporary Art Exhibition, Sunshine International Museum, Beijing, China (2006); Contemporary Art Exhibition of Dismantle, Xiyuantianlu Business Hotel, Beijing, China (2006);
Beijing Calligraphy Exhibition, Maside Art Center, Beijing, China (2005); Luxury Times, Chang Chau Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Tianjin Harbor Plaza, Tianjin, China (2005); Dismantle-dismantle-dismantle, Beijing International Arts Camp II Ka Tsuen, Beijing, China (2005); Considerable, West Lake International Sculpture Exhibition, Hangzhou Fine Art Museum, Hangzhou, China (2005); The Second Invitational Sculpture Exhibition of Contemporary Young Sculptors, Hangzhou Fine Art Museum, Hangzhou, China (2001); Works Exhibition, The First China Sculpture Competition, China (2000); and The Second Metals Work Exhibition, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (1999).
Liu Bolin's work is included in highly prestigious individual, corporate, foundation, and museum collections worldwide.