Artist's amazing self-camouflage


41 Responses to “Artist's amazing self-camouflage”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Liu Bolin has been doing his Hiding in the City series since 2005. It started as a political commentary on the tensions between the Chinese government and their people and the identity an environment gives an individual and vice versa. Liu Bolin will be exhibiting at Eli Klein Fine Art in New York from June 29 – August 28, 2011. Eli Klein Fine Art represents him exclusively in North and South America. More images can be found on

  2. grima says:

    If they haven’t already, the US military will be seeking this guy out.

  3. the r kelly says:

    To all y’all saying this is not impressive as art because the guy didn’t paint himself…himself:

    You apparently have zero concept of what ‘art’ means in our modern world; it has become more than adeptly applying paint to canvas in a way that accurately depicts reality.

    If you can’t understand that the act of making the individual invisible (or rather, I would argue, making the invisible individual become visible) in a nation like China is a legitimate artistic enterprise, then I just feel bad for you.

    There’s a little more going on here than “oh that dude disappeared against a background lol”

  4. Razzabeth says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Eh. I feel that single angle concealment of this type really shouldn’t be be refered to as camouflage.

    True camouflage exists for the purpose of providing the greatest general concealment in the greatest number of terrains and from the greatest number of vantage points. The trouble is, the average person doesn’t find real camouflage nearly as interesting as these clever little camera tricks because they fail to appreciate the sheer intricacies of modern camouflage design.

    Of course, in my opinion the most impressive forms of camouflage are not physical, but psychological. Hiding in plain site, exploiting people’s assumptions, and even blending in non-visual ways are all underappreciated artforms that blow the most advanced camouflague and concealment tricks out of the water.

    ~D. Walker

  6. David Pescovitz says:

    Flashman, Thank you for getting inside my head and correcting me on what bends my own mind.

  7. bookbuff says:

    Some of these bb blogs are worth just a snicker, but aren’t worth commenting on. This might be one of them. Let’s all agree to say wow neato and move on.

    • agoodsandwich says:

      Um….so why did you comment? Are you just trying to be meta? And so commanding, to boot.

      Actually, I’d really like to know. If I find something so uninteresting, I usually just move on and stop thinking about it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    see Verushka, an German artist who did this in the mid-70s, including an incredible piece where her head is part of a pile of stones. her stuff was mind-bending then. this is cool, but really pretty derivative…

    • Piers W says:

      Interesting you should cite Veruschka as the ‘artist’ rather than Trulzsch . It’s possible the idea was hers, but obviously she didn’t take the photos herself, and probably didn’t apply the ‘camouflage’either.

      Back in the seventies the idea that a photographer could be an ‘artist’ at all wasn’t universally accepted. Or that a supermodel could be for that matter.

      Back to Liu Bolin; if the main photo were the result of him going to a building site by himself with a camera, tripod, electronic shutter release, paints and makeup, (+ a big mirror?) then that really would be mindbending.

      I’d guess he’s had an idea which sells well in galleries in the form of large colour prints, said idea probably entirely independently of the Trusch/Veruschka book, and several other people are involved in realising it.

      Not trying to detract from anything here, but quite often what impresses people about artists’ or say film directors’ work is in fact the work of technicians, and what the artist thinks is interesting is something totally different.

  9. Cunning says:

    “I pick Liu!”
    “No fair, you always pick Liu…”

    -dialog between hide-and-go-seek teams
    Shandong Province Prepatory School
    Recess, 1982

  10. c0nn0r says:

    Solid Snake?

  11. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    They’re all excellent, but the last one is really nicely done.

  12. octopod says:

    awesome, etc

  13. Ian70 says:

    Damn, I actually didn’t see him in the top photo for, like, 10 seconds.

  14. abe lugo says:

    This cool, but the only downfall is that it only works from the perspective of the image.
    This effect can be done with two shots and some photoshop work in a few min.
    but nontheless actually doing it is a lot of work, blog worth, meh. if this artist comes up with a freakin harry potter invisibility cloak, please blog about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      i think the point is that he didn’t use photoshop – that he painted his body to match… there’s the artistry. cheap photoshop tricks are for hacks

      • abe lugo says:

        no cheap photoshop tricks get the job and finished quick and easy, don’t you think this “artist” used photoshop to plan out the painted areas he needed? It’s just how it works.

    • Brainspore says:

      An incredible piece of art isn’t that impressive because it would be possible to create a similar image in Photoshop? You must be a lot of fun on a gallery tour.

    • scifijazznik says:

      Do you complain that Picasso’s paintings wouldn’t have been so blocky if he just been standing 3 feet to the left?

      I was going to call you a Captain Curmudgeon, but Brainspore already beat me to the punch.

  15. burtmobain says:

    The Boingster must be running out of material.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I saw some of his work in the Metro last year I think, in a similar “look at him, isn’t that kooky” article.

    I’d be surprised if this guy wasn’t censored in China though. The whole message I’m getting from it is the invisibility of the people in the face of the uncompromising state.

    He’s painted entire families in red to fade in with the background of the Chinese flag. He stands invisible in front of symbols of power and slogans.

    I like it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I found this artist’s work interesting and worth posting.

  18. Dave Faris says:


  19. Anonymous says:

    Forget all the posturing on how impressive it is, how do you even do that? How do you accurately paint yourself into a complex, multi-dimensional scene from a point of perspective some 20 feet away from where you’re standing?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hasn’t anyone heard of the original designer of this concept???
    Veruschka: Transfiguration by Vera Lehndorff and Holger Trulzch( author).

    While I appreciate the expression of Liu Bolin….he did NOT originate the method or this artistic expression in the world of art.

    My goodness, Veruschka book on this method, and her use of herself as the model came out in 1986!!!!

  21. awwhoneybear says:

    the first one is the best. it def took me a good minute to find him! very fun :)

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen this before, a piece from 2005 called “The emperor’s clothes” by Carolina Ruff:

  23. Piers W says:

    cf eighties book Transfigurations by Holger Trulzsch (with an introduction by Susan Sontag!)

    Some images here, possibly NSFW because camouflagee hasn’t got any clothes on:

  24. Flashman says:

    What is with the superlatives that get thrown about on BoingBoing?! It’s the worst thing ever and it makes me sick!
    Mindbending? How about ‘kinda neat and amusing’?

  25. mdh says:

    Synchronicity. Liu Bolin has an installation for the next 6 months at my local city museum. It’s not a big city.

  26. freshyill says:

    Don’t worry. This guy lives and hunts by a strict ethical code. As long as you’re not perceived as being dangerous or a worthy trophy, or unarmed, he won’t hurt you. But be warned… if you see those three laser dots, it’s already too late.

    The Wikipedia article on this guy is pretty good.

  27. jfrancis says:

    That’s how reptile hides in Mortal Kombat (1995) – or how the Leap of Faith works in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

  28. franko says:

    it seriously took me a minute or two to realize where he was in the photo with the tractor. O.o

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