How the Artist Liu Bolin Disappeared Right in the Middle of a Lavish Art Basel Miami Beach Party
Most people arriving to Art Basel Miami Beach are coming to be seen and photographed in their loudest statement fashion, not to disappear into the background. But the artist Liu Bolin, however, is only truly present when he is not to everyone else. The Beijing-based Liu, who has come to be known as the art world’s “Invisible Man,” began the first of his Hiding in the City series in 2005, when he painted himself into urban sites throughout China to silently protest the Chinese government’s evicting residents to make room for the Beijing Olympics, and has since adapted his glocal acts of disappearance to brands like Valentino and Moncler, and staged in places as far-flung as Iceland. (He has even expanded his chameleonic approach online by hacking himself and his camouflaged co-conspirators into images of famed artworks like Guernica and the Mona Lisa on the internet, in a related series called Art Hacker.) Lately, his Hiding world tour has seen him collaborate with Ruinart, the champagne house with a history of supporting and collaborating with artists like Maarten Baas, Erwin Olaf, and Jaume Plensa, as its latest artist-in-residence. On Wednesday, at an Art Basel Miami Beach x Ruinart event right next door to the main fair at the convention center (which Ruinart also sponsors) in the Miami Botanical Gardens, Liu restaged the fruits of that residency, painstakingly painting himself into a backdrop of colorful liquids filling the famed Ruinart bottle shapes (the exacting details of camouflage are rendered over Liu’s face, skin, clothes—everything) as VIPs sipped on Ruinart Rosé champagne and snacked on canapés by legendary Miami chef Michelle Bernstein. Soon, Liu began to disappear from view, and everyone took out their phones to capture the moment the artist left the party.