Artists from the Collection exhibit: Liu Bolin from 19 March 2015, Paris
The Paris-Beijing Gallery in Paris will play host to Liu Bolin with an individual exhibition dedicated entirely to his most recent creations and previously unseen work. Find two pieces from Bolin’s Hiding in the City series which were produced in the vaults of Société Générale’s historic Central Branch during visits to the bank!
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This world-renowned artist is famous for his camouflage performance photography series, Hiding in the City. Liu Bolin is giving Parisians an exclusive look at images created in Paris and China over the last two years. The exhibition will also for the first time reveal the staging secrets behind the artist’s remarkable photographs with a recreation of Hiding in the City – Wall, which was produced in Paris in 2013 in collaboration with artist Rero. In the photograph, the wall used to camouflage Liu Bolin contains an extract from the French declaration on human rights about freedom of expression. The words are crossed out in the trademark style of the French artist. The wall has been installed in the gallery alongside a making-of video and the outfit covered in paint that Liu Bolin wore for the performance.
The works Pharmacy, Meat Factory (both Paris, 2013) and Cancer Village (China, 2014) give a piercing insight into the effects some industries have on our health and the environment. For Cancer Village, Liu Bolin asked residents from a village in the highly polluted Shandong province to pose disappearing into in a wheat field. In the background, we can make out the chemical plant responsible for causing illnesses that affect the villagers. The photograph is the first image in the Target series which shows many figures camouflaged in designs chosen by Liu Bolin, who directs the work from conception to production.
The new series, Target – Chinese Fans, is a collection of extremely complex, poetic pieces that draw on different artistic mediums and sources of inspiration. Artistic and philosophical movements from East and West meld together, with people imitating certain poses from Renaissance paintings just as their bodies are decorated by Liu Bolin to reveal traditional Chinese landscapes which evoke Shanshui poetry from the Yuan and Ming eras. The two very different forms of artistic expression fuse together to represent the meeting of two great schools of thought: the humanist view of man at the centre of the universe, and the Taoist search for harmony between man and nature.
Photographs from the Target – Chinese Fans series are printed in large two-metre works and are backlit with light boxes.
Liu Bolin’s more recent sculptures will also be displayed, including Fist, a monumental iron structure more than one-metre tall which wowed Parisians last Spring when it was displayed in the forecourt of the Grand Palais. The sculpture of the artist’s left fist is engraved with the current propaganda slogan of Beijing ‘Beijing Spirit: Patriotism, Innovation, Inclusiveness, Virtue’. The fist faces downwards in contrast to the raised fist symbolic of revolution. It may symbolise the end of an era.
In his Magazine Rack sculptures, Bolin’s head seems rise out of the world’s newspaper headlines, whereas in Security Check his frame is entirely covered, and the artist’s hands are raised in surrender. Recurrent themes run through Liu Bolin’s work, as do the issues he has cared about from the start: enjoying freedom of thought and expression without fearing, or resigning oneself to, the persuasive power of propaganda or the deception of censorship.
Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong province. He studied under and later assisted Sui Jianguo. Bolin is a sculptor, performer and photographer whose work has been exhibited across the globe, with much of it now residing in illustrious public and private collections.
Liu Bolin has enjoyed resounding success at contemporary art fairs and international exhibitions, in particular the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in 2007. The artist was invited to London in 2008 by the Red Mansion Foundation and to Madrid in September 2009 by the Caja Foundation. More recently, in 2012, the Ekaterina Foundation hosted his work in a solo exhibition at the Moscow Photo Biennale. After a successful appearance at the Vevey Festival Images in Switzerland, where huge versions of Bolin’s photos (up to 600 m2) were displayed on walls around the city, a retrospective of his work was exhibited at Toulouse’s Made in Asia Festival in March 2013. In Spring 2014, his monumental four-metre-high iron sculpture, Fist, was installed in the forecourt of the Grand Palais for the Art Paris contemporary art fair. Liu Bolin’s achievements in France and Europe will be further confirmed in 2017 with a retrospective of his photographs at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.
Photographs, sculptures and installation art
From Thursday, 19 March to Saturday, 2 May 2015
Private viewing with the artist at 6 p.m. Thursday, 7 March
62, rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris