Preview: Liu Bolin’s “A Colorful World?” at Klein Sun Gallery

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on


Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Chinese artist Liu Bolin is a chameleon. From a first glance, his most well-known works look like photos of newsstands and famous paintings. But as one looks closer, the artist’s body emerges, painted head-to-toe to blend in with his surroundings. It’s like when Duchamp scribbled R. Mutt on his famous urinal and deemed it art, except for Bolin forces his audience to contemplate mundane objects and scenarios in a fine art context by inserting himself into these scenes. The theme of disappearance is fundamental here, as Bolin chooses subjects that highlight the hidden ills often cloaked in attractive packaging and glossy images. His latest solo show, “A Colorful World?” at Klein Sun Gallery is decidedly politically charged.

A staunch critic of consumer society, Bolin chose junk food packaging and magazine covers as major motifs to comment on the ways he sees people lose their individual identities in the pursuit of financial gain. In a series of life-size Security Check sculptures, a replica of the artist’s own body is wall-papered with snack wrappers as he assumes the stance to be screened in an airport x-ray. In another work, a body-painted Bolin disappears before a magazine stand. The globalized materialistic culture of fast food and fast fashion, according to the artist, make us forget our compassion for others amid the rat race — it makes us lose our fundamental good as humans.

In some works, Bolin’s body painting becomes more ambitious and he attempts to blend in with three-dimensional landscapes and even people. One piece, Cancer Village is particularly harrowing. Bolin painted 23 people affected by cancer in a rural village that borders a chemical factory. His subjects blend in with a field as the ominous building looms in the background. The piece protests the fact that they continue to struggle as the rest of us continue with our comfortable lives. Bolin’s intention is to provoke his bourgeois viewers and make them question, are we really living in “A Colorful World?” or is it all illusion?

“A Colorful World?” opens September 11 at Klein Sun Gallery in New York City and will be on view through November 1.


Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin


Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

Courtesy Klein Sun Gallery, New York. © Liu Bolin

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