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Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man

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Chinese artist Liu Bolin has been disappearing for years now. Using his own body as a canvas, painting himself into the background, Bolin creates scenes that are statements about our relationship to our surroundings, and reflections on Chinese artists and their status in modern China. Beginning as performance art in 2005, his work includes series titled "Hiding in the City" and "The Invisible Man." Collected below are several of his performances from the past few years. [28 photos]

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Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist, waits for the finishing touches to his camouflage, before being completely blended into the background, in front of a shelf lined with comic books, as part of a series of performances in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 2, 2013. Liu, known as "the invisible man" for using painted-on camouflage to blend into the backdrops of his photographs, will be performing in Caracas till November 6. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)
Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist, waits for the finishing touches to his camouflage, before being completely blended into the background, in front of a shelf lined with comic books, as part of a series of performances in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 2, 2013. Liu, known as "the invisible man" for using painted-on camouflage to blend into the backdrops of his photographs, will be performing in Caracas till November 6. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)
A photo series shows stages of Chinese artist Liu Bolin being painted during a happening at the Grand Palais in Paris, on April 1, 2011. Bolin, from Shandong, China, manages to camouflage himself in any surroundings, standing silently in front of his chosen scene in locations all around the world, the 37-year-old artist uses himself as a blank canvas. (Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images) #
Chinese artist Liu Bolin, during a happening at the Grand Palais in Paris on April 1, 2011. (Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images) #
Liu Bolin is painted by Guillaume Beal during a happening at the Grand Palais in Paris, on April 1, 2011. (Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images) #
Liu Bolin stands before a staircase at the end of a happening at the Grand Palais in Paris, on April 1, 2011. (Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images) #
Liu Bolin waits for his colleagues to put a finishing touch on him to blend into rows of soft drinks in his artwork entitled "Plasticizer," to express his speechlessness at use of plasticizer in food additives, in his studio at the 798 Art District in Beijing, China, on August 10, 2011. (AP Photo) #
Liu Bolin is painted with the help of his colleagues to blend into rows of soft drinks in his artwork entitled "Plasticizer," on August 10, 2011. (AP Photo) #
Final changes are made to Liu Bolin's "Plasticizer" work in Beijing, on August 10, 2011. (AP Photo) #
A participant is painted to make her look exactly the same as the seats of a theatre, during Liu Bolin's new project, in Beijing, on September 12, 2013. The work, called "Red Theatre", is one of more than 100 "invisible works" Liu has completed since 2005. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
A participant waits for the finishing touches to her makeup, as part of Liu Bolin's "Red Theatre", in Beijing, on September 12, 2013. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
Artist Liu Bolin is painted by an assistant for "Red Theatre", on September 12, 2013. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
Liu Bolin and his assistant inspect a picture during his latest project, in Beijing, on September 12, 2013. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
Liu removes a face mask that had painted to match the colors of a seat in a theatre, on, September 12, 2013. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
Chinese artist Liu Bolin is painted by students of the Stuttgart art academy in front of a wall with different magazines in the Kunstverein (art association) in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on May 15, 2013. (Bernd Weissbrod/AFP/Getty Images) #
Liu Bolin folds his trousers as he prepares to demonstrate an art piece at a supermarket in Beijing, November 10, 2011. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Liu smiles as he readies himself to blend in with rows of vegetables displayed on the shelves at a supermarket in Beijing, on November 10, 2011. (Reuters/China Daily) #
An assistant shows a photo on a mobile phone to artist Liu Bolin as Liu demonstrates an art installation at a supermarket in Beijing, on November 10, 2011. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Assistants of artist Liu Bolin assist with his demonstration in Beijing, on November 10, 2011. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Liu stands before rows of vegetables displayed on shelves at a supermarket in Beijing, on November 10, 2011. (Reuters/China Daily) #
People watch as Liu is prepared to be blended completely into the background in front of a shelf lined with comic books, as part of a series of performances in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 2, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
A team of local painters work on Liu's overalls before he performs to blend himself into a backdrop, on November 1, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Liu's shoes, before he wears them to blend himself into a shelf lined with comic books, on November 1, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
A reference picture of Liu, standing partially blended into the background, on a table in Caracas, on November 1, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Liu applies paint to his forehead as part of a series of performances in Caracas, on November 2, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Liu stands in front of a shelf lined with comic books in Caracas, on November 2, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Painters assist Liu in Caracas, on November 2, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Liu checks a picture on his laptop after blending himself into the background in Caracas, on November 2, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #
Chinese artist Liu Bolin blends himself into a shelf lined with comic books as part of a series of performances in Caracas, on November 2, 2013. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #

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