For this coming September Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to present Revealing Disappearance, Liu Bolin latest solo exhibition witnessing the artist’s engagement on environmental issues.
Since the beginning of his career, ecology has been a central topic of Liu Bolin’s artistic production. In 2011 he braved the polluted waters of the Yellow River in one of the most industrialized regions of his country, two years ago he organized a collective performance at the edge of a large artificial forest aimed to stop the spreading of the Gobi desert in the Northern territories of China. More recently he stood among piles of garbage in a waste collection center in Bangalore, India. Last June, the artist flew to the French Atlantic Coast where he achieved two new performances in collaboration with Surfrider Foundation Europe to raise public awareness on the issue of marine litter. For decades the NGO has launched awareness campaigns against pollution caused by plastic waste, working to preserve the ocean.
The exhibition will display the photographs linked to his most recent intervention in France as well as his prior performances in China and India, where rapid industrialization and population growth have adversely affected urban climates, particularly air quality. According to The State of Global Air 2017 report, in 2015 both countries saw around 1.1 million early deaths due to air pollution.
Along with his renowned photographic work, one site-specific installation from the VISA Portrait series, made of dozen of car air filters will be also on display at the gallery. The chromatic difference due to the pollution degree of its components immediately draws the viewer’s attention. A second reading will reveal an unknown face. The installation plays with the concept of individuality and the notion of cause and effect.
The 28-minute video Winter Solstice (2016) will be also presented to the public for the fist time in Paris. The images show camouflaged dancers struggling as they Musical Erratum as background sound. Fade into Beijing’s smog on December 20th, two days before the winter solstice, an important festival in the traditional Chinese calendar, with Marcel Duchamp’s Musical Erratum as background sound. The choreography is inspired by the movements people instinctively make when their lives are suppressed.
This body of works represents a reflection about the deleterious consequences of human actions on our own habitat. We are now far from the Taoist principles at the core of Chinese Tradition, teaching a sustainable harmonious relationship between humans and nature.
Liu Bolin believes the “Man develops while destroying his own environment and exploiting himself. The price he has to pay for the splendid civilization is the loss of awareness of his membership in the animal kingdom. Indulging in the development he has achieved, man is in fact digging is own grave with his greed. People require too much from the nature and environment. We will soon realise how tiny we are. Our desire dominates our behaviour. We’ll face a lot of problems in future”.
By disappearing in a highly symbolic background Liu Bolin continues to denounce with finesse some important issues of our time while questioning the place of the individual in his or her own environment. His disappearance challenges the viewers both intellectually and emotionally, just the time for them to discover the silhouette hiding in the photograph. “I hope my works will act like a warning for my generation and for generations to come”.
The show will take place simultaneously with the artist’s retrospective, held at the MEP, Maison Européenne de la Photographie from Sept 6th to Oct 29th. This first institutional monograph of the artist in France will cover ten years of his artistic production focusing on four main themes: politics and censorship, tradition and Chinese culture, consumer society and freedom of the press. From September 9th to January 8th Liu Bolin will take over the Galerie des Enfants of the Centre Pompidou as part of the event Galerie Party to celebrate the Museum’s 40th anniversary. On this occasion he will orchestrate a public performance by disappearing in front of the installation designed by Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard from Studio GGSV.
Liu Bolin was born in Binzhou (Shandong Province), in 1973, China and studied sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, graduating with an MFA in 2001. Over the last decade his work has been exhibited extensively in numerous museums and institutions across the globe. He currently lives and works in Beijing.