– FIVE WAYS OF BEING A PAINTING –
early 1930s when he began to fear that he would have to flee into exile in the near future.
The notes became a manuscript that he took with him when he left Germany for the last time in 1933.
In his written account of the Paris Salon of 1767, which effectively inaugurated modern art criticism, Denis Diderot flirted with absorption while describing Vernet’s painting of La Rochelle. He showed readers a way to get lost in Vernet’s work. If one were to view the painting through a looking glass, taking in most of the image while avoiding the borders, one could easily forget that it was a view of a painting.
Liu Bolin says that he first painted himself into a landscape in 2005 when the Chinese government demolished an artists’ colony in which he worked. He painted himself to resemble the background scenery with the help of assistants and had them photograph him in front of the wreckage.
Many of his works have an overt political message. They are acts of political estrangement and political commentary. But they are also a special type of present absence. Through a blend of painting and photography, the absence of the artist colony is unconcealed by the presence of the camouflaged Bolin. We are made to see things hiding.