Modern Art’s Invisible Man Melts into Weapons

Liu Bolin, Chinese Contemporary Artist, Hiding in New York, Zachary Bako

Chinese artist Liu Bolin has performed a disappearing act in the name of increasing awareness of arms control methods across the world.

His performance piece ‘Gun Rack’ sees him melt into the weapons behind him, due to the precisely applied paint that cloaks his face and clothes.

Performing at New York’s Eli Klein gallery recently, Bolin’s work suggests that gun ownership is a form of camouflage in itself; masking and overwhelming the owner’s persona.

 

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Liu Bolin, Chinese Contemporary Artist, Hiding in New York, Zachary Bako

This is the latest piece of performance art from Liu Bolin, who hails from the Chinese province Shandong. He seeks to stimulate social engagement throughout his work and to draw attention to daily injustices that many people get used to and assimilate into their lives unquestioningly. 

Liu Bolin, Chinese Contemporary Artist, Hiding in New York, Zachary Bako

The sense of menace in the backdrop is heightened once we know that the guns are not replicas but live machines. The gallery owner explained, ‘These are all real weapons, not replicas. They were legal to have in the gallery as they were modified to fire blanks. And two armorers had to be on site at all times. They actually slept in the gallery on Saturday night.”

Bolin’s performance piece takes on the form of a very menacing Where’s Wally. The heavy subject matter sits as uncomfortably as the optical illusion flickers into and out of view.

What do you think of Bolin’s work? How effective is this performance piece in getting across the artist’s message? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or click here to join the conversation on the Fawn Review Facebook page!

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