in New York, NY / United States
30.03.2024 - 29.06.2024 00:00
Liu Bolin - Order out of Chaos

Eli Klein Gallery is thrilled to present “Order out of Chaos”, Liu Bolin’s ninth solo show at the gallery. The exhibition will debut the artist’s much anticipated new sculpture series “Chaos” – marking an important evolution of the “invisible man” who now transforms others “invisible.” The exhibition will also present Liu’s recent photographs, continuing the development of his world-renowned “Hiding in the City” series. Running through May 25, 2024, this show is the artist’s response to the increasingly digitized society.

For the first time, Liu’s performance of “concealing” becomes an act of “sensing,” with him holding a 3D scanner performing the action of scanning his subjects, whether they be a woman holding a cat, a man texting on a smartphone, or the artist himself. The subject is always in a meditative state. When the scanning process begins, the target completely releases him/herself (disappearing) from his/her physical state, and only communicates with his/her inner self. Liu Bolin is the observer and sensor throughout the performance: he deliberately uses an out-dated 3D scanner due to its unique capability to create a fragmented and torn aesthetic when the sculptures were produced, hinting at the impossibility of disappearing completely in the digital world. The out-dated scanner and computer program create a system of colors that are applied arbitrarily as per the different layers of scans. Liu did not attempt to alter these color patterns upon painting the sculptures, an act of yielding power to the machine.

Trained professionally as a sculptor, Liu Bolin surprisingly sourced his inspiration of “Chaos” from “Rondanini Pietà” – Michelangelo’s final unfinished work. Even though Michelango’s work had been completed 450 years prior to “Chaos”, Liu views this sculpture as the grand master’s most contemporary work which actually depicts multiple faces and out-of-the-body limbs. Liu believes that “Rondanini Pietà”, which seems eerily modern, hints at the inevitability of machine-produced imagery taking over contemporary visual culture.

“Chaos – Me,” the largest scale sculpture in the exhibition, shows Liu Bolin’s own body, and is hollow so as to permit inspection inside out. This is because Liu believes the process of self-inspection creates a “fourth dimension,” which is illustrated by the fact that this sculpture comes in numerous parts and can be assembled at varying distances.

In the “Hiding in the City” series, Liu Bolin continues to explore the possibility of his body’s disappearance in a physical sense by concealing himself. This selection of photos showcases his acute observations and questioning of global cultural, social, and political issues. “Central Park” is a collaboration between Liu Bolin and Annie Leibovitz, capturing the autumn scenery of New York’s Central Park. Liu is performing in this photograph, of which Annie Leibovitz is the photographer. “HK Message Wall” is displayed to the public for the first time since its creation, documenting Liu Bolin’s reflections on the proposed Anti-Extradition Law Amendment in Hong Kong in 2019. Liu Bolin blends into the wall of the Tai Po Market station in the Hong Kong subway, which is covered with slogans, drawings, and graffiti. Hidden within these writings and images, which were quickly removed by the authorities, are the voices of some courageous Hong Kong people advocating for their rights and interests through non-verbal resistance. “Hiding in Italy – Fruit Juices” was shot by Liu Bolin in the suburb of Verona, Italy. Liu Bolin hides among the colorful and vibrant fruit juice shelves to demonstrate the connection between commodities and consumer life, furthering his critique on the global inequality in food access.

Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China. After graduating from the Shandong Academy of Fine Arts in 1995, he enrolled in Central Academy of Fine Arts and received his MFA in 2001. Known internationally as “The Invisible Man,” Liu Bolin sprang from a generation of artists struggling with the consequences of the Cultural Revolution and the rapid economic development in the decades after. Traversing mediums such as performance, photography, painting, sculpture, digital media, and social activism, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments that are sites of intrigue, contention, and criticism.

Liu Bolin currently lives and works in Beijing.

Gallery hours Tue-Sat 10 am – 6 pm

Exhibition Duration 30 March – 29 June 2024


Eli Klein Gallery
398 West Street
10014 New York, NY
United States


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