Liu Bolin

Born in 1973 in Shandong, China. Lives and works in Beijing. 
Hidding in the City - Paris n°11, Graffiti Freedom - 2013 © Liu Bolin, Courtesy of Paris-Beijing Gallery

Hidding in the City - Paris n°11, Graffiti Freedom - 2013
© Liu Bolin, Courtesy of Paris-Beijing Gallery

Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Binzhou in Shandong province, and belongs to the generation who were born under Mao and grew up amid the ashes of the Cultural Revolution. His career path and his artistic output are inextricably tied into the context of the radical changes sweeping through China, with its economy expanding at phenomenal speed and urbanisation proceeding at a breakneck pace. In 1999, after graduating in sculpture from Shandong University, he proceeded to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. It was during this time that he discovered the world of the alternative communities growing out of the Beijing East Village experiment, which enabled numerous artists to try out performance art away from the disapproving gaze and conservatism of the official institutions. In 2005, as part of the projects to get the capital ready for the 2008 Olympics, the government announced the demolition of the Suojiacun neighbourhood, an artists’ village on the outskirts of Beijing where Liu Bolin had gone to live. It was then that he hit upon an original idea to express his impotence in the face of that event. He delivered his first photo-performance, posing motionless, coated in paint, in such a way that he blended into the ruins of his workshop: this was the beginning of the series ‘Hiding in the City’. Since then, Liu Bolin has been highly successful, his works appearing in many international exhibitions including the Festival photographique des Rencontres d'Arles (2007), the Red Mansion Foundation in London (2008), the Ekaterina Foundation in Moscow and the Festival Images de Vevey (2012). In 2014, his monumental steel sculpture ‘Iron Fist’ was installed on the piazza of the Grand Palais during the Art Paris contemporary art fair. Liu Bolin has also performed in the world’s major cities, working with other internationally renowned artists such as JR from France, with whom he collaborated as part of the now legendary performance beside the Pyramid at the Louvre (May 2016). September 2017 is a very busy month, with a retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and a public performance at the Pompidou Centre accompanied by a collaborative show with Studio GGSV to mark the 40th anniversary of the Galerie des Enfants museum.

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