Who knew a disappearing act could look so compelling?
Chinese social activist Liu Bolin has made a career out of vanishing into a multitude of surrounds, and now, the ‘Invisible Man’ has appeared in Australia for the first time.
The artist’s carefully crafted self-portraits, which see him covered in intricate body-painted designs, have been a staple of the international art scene for more than two decades.
It’s a form of protest against the Chinese government’s tense relationship with its citizens – or ‘the forgotten people’ – and his commentary on the country’s recovery from the Cultural Revolution.
Bolin has collaborated with esteemed artists including Jean Paul Gaultier, Annie Leibovitz and Jon Bon Jovi, and produced commissions for the United Nations.
An exhibition of 50 of his chameleon-like works is featuring as the centrepiece of this year’s Ballarat International Foto Biennale, in country Victoria.
But before its opening last weekend, the Chinese artist had the chance to construct a final piece in front of Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he fell victim to the city’s notably frenetic pace and sporadic weather conditions.
“He can place himself in front of almost anything and make himself invisible. Provided it doesn’t move,” Mr Andrews wrote on Facebook.
“True to form, Melbourne’s weather kept changing – meaning more shades of paint had to be layered onto Liu’s face and clothes to match the sunlight.
“Seagulls, trucks and tourists kept getting in frame – but six hours later, the photographer finally got the shot.”
The artist’s work is on display until October 20, but you might want to take your opportunity early – it might take some time for you to actually spot the ‘Invisible Man’.