Liu Bolin: Art Hacker

November 17 – December 23, 2016

Press Release

Klein Sun Gallery is proud to announce Art Hacker, a solo exhibition by the world-renowned Chinese artist Liu Bolin, on view from November 17 through December 23, 2016. 

The exhibition marks Liu Bolin's shift towards the virtual world, exploring this new territory artistically through Post-Internet Art. This new body of work consists of appropriations of classical Masterpieces — da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Picasso's Guernica — juxtaposed with a photograph of the devastating impact of the Tianjin explosions. Using complicated and precise hand-painted camouflage, Liu Bolin painstakingly recreates these images with scores of human subjects as his canvas. Through various methods, Liu Bolin's new photographs have replaced the three subjects on numerous websites, which were targeted with image-search results on Google and Baidu, thus realizing the Hacker project. Neon installations of the URLs exhibited throughout the gallery pound home the transitory and delicate nature of the internet.

Recreating the imagery of human suffering and devastation of war symbolized in the painting Guernica, Liu Bolin’s relives the history of the Spanish civil war, making a plea for humanity and freedom. In Mona Lisa (2016), Liu Bolin imbeds himself into the masterpiece as well as its historical legacy. Touching upon the fact that the work was stolen from the Louvre more than 100 years ago, Liu Bolin aims to reenact the “disappearing and reappearing” of the work through techniques behind the network. Provocatively challenging the viewer to question what is above and beneath the surface, the work intends to reflect upon the complex relationship between the past and the present, the reality and the illusion, as well as individuality and history.

Not only utilizing and analyzing the impact of the Internet, Liu Bolin also delves into other aspects in digital realm, blurring the boundary between art and technology evident in his installation Livestream Vest (2016). Attaching multiple smartphones onto a life jacket, the artist turns on the front cameras for unstoppable live-streaming. Reflecting and broadcasting what is happening while moving around, Liu Bolin merges into the environment mirrored on the vest. The work, therefore, becomes a quasi-invisible jacket wherein the artist turns into part of the social environment.

Employing physical and hyperlinked images, the exhibition explores the theme of illusionism. Actively “disappearing and reappearing,” Liu Bolin issues an urgency through his works. Engaging with both online and offline formats, the artist foregrounds the man-made, the fabricated, and the deceptive, through which he probes into the mass production and circulation of information, and also questions where the power lies in today’s ubiquitous networking.

Born in China’s Shandong province in 1973, Liu Bolin earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Shandong College of Arts and his Master of Fine Arts from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His work has been exhibited in museum shows around the world including solo exhibitions Liu Bolin, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2017, forthcoming); Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City, Boise Art Museum, ID (2015); Disappearing, Museo de Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015); Liu Bolin, Dennos Museum, Traverse City, MI (2015); Liu Bolin, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Germany (2013); Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, VT (2013); Liu Bolin, The Longyear Museum of Anthropology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY (2012-2013); Liu Bolin: A Secret Tour, Museo H.C. Andersen, Galleria Nazionale d’ArteModerna, Rome, Italy (2012); The Invisible Man, Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow, Russia (2012), 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). His group shows include Invisible Threads: Technology and its Discontents, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016); Art From The Streets, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2016); We Are What We Eat, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY (2016); TAKE ME OUT, Chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Focus on the Future – What Makes Us, Tokyo International Photography Festival, Art Factory Jonanjima, Japan (2015); Immortal Present: Art and East Asia, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (2015); INTERACT: Deconstructing Spectatorship, North Wing of The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London, UK (2015); ​ Chinese Contemporary Photography: 2009-2014, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2014); East by South East, OBS Gallery, Tonbridge School, Kent, UK (2014); Seeing the Unseen, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL (2014); Religion, Ritual, and Performance in Modern and Contemporary Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH (2013);  TED 2013, The Long Beach Performing Arts Center, CA (2013); Incarnations, Photographie-Performance de Chine, Institut Confucius des Pays de la Loire d’Angers, France (2013); 

Inner Journeys, Maison Paticulière Art Center, Brussels, Belgium (2013); Harper’s Bazaar: Inside the Magazine, Yermilov Center, Kharkiv, Ukraine; Korobchinskiy Center, Odessa, Ukraine; Izolyatsia, Donetsk, Ukraine; Museum of Modern Art, Kiev, Ukraine (2012); Performing for the Camera, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ (2012); Changement de Décor, Festival des Arts Visuels de Vevey, Switzerland (2012); Scenes from Within: Contemporary Art from China, Biennale della Fotografia, Bogotá, Colombia (2011);  Black and White, Zero Art Center, Beijing, China (2011); Exhibition of the Neuflize Collection MAC de Marseille, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Marseille, France (2011); The Right to Protest, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel (2010); The Big World: Recent Art from China, Chicago Cultural Center, IL (2009); Animamix Biennial, Shanghai MoCA, China; Taipei MoCA, Taiwan; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2009); International Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition, Seoul Art Museum, Korea (2009), and Les Rencontres d'Arles, France (2007). Liu Bolin's work is included in highly prestigious individual, corporate, foundation, and museum collections worldwide.

For press inquiries, please contact Rui Tang at the gallery (212.255.4388) or via email at For all other inquiries, please contact Nicole Aiello at the gallery (212.255.4388) or via email at

Liu Bolin, Guernica, 2016

Liu Bolin, Mona Lisa, 2016

Liu Bolin, Tianjin Explosions, 2016