The Invisible Man by Liveisys Pedraza

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Writing
Tags: ,

In Liu Bolin’s photographs “The Chameleon, (2005)” and “Hiding in New York, (2011)” there is more than meets the eye.

In Bolin’s pictureThe Chameleon,” when you look at it for the first time, you ask yourself, “Why would someone take a picture of a supermarket isle full of colorful cans?” Then, I keep inquiring. “why does this visual image capture my attention?” Well, continue looking under the surface and the answer emerges. Within this first visual image aptly labelled “The Chameleon,” if you continue viewing and observing the shelves full of canned foods in a supermarket, you being to see a pattern emerge. The cans were all organized by colors that make you wonder, makes you look more carefully to the picture. Suddenly, wham and bam, there they were: A pair of shoes in front of the shelves. That was all that was necessary for me to finally discover the truth about the picture–I saw a man camouflaged within the image. The pair of shoes belonged to the man standing in front of the shelves. This second impression made feel insecured since I now know there is more than just what is at the surface–underneath there is more that lurks.   

Similarly, the second image that captured my attention was also created by Bolin, “Hiding in New York.” Bolin created this piece six years after “The Chameleon.” With this image, the same trickery from “The Chameleon” occurred but at a lesser level–probably since I was aware of Bolin’s strategy and was in search of “the invisible man.” At first I looked to the picture and all I saw was a picture of skyscrapers–a big city. I saw the tall buildings; nearby, construction workers are visible. As I carefully scan the image, trying to delve deeper, there he is–the invisible man. He is camouflaged and gets lost within the immensity of the city. This second impression made me feel uncomfortable once more since now it is confirmed there is more to a visual image than meets the eye.

After I compared and contrasted both of the pictures, I conclude that two seemingly simple pictures became very complex after careful critical analysis. My questions as to why such simple pictures would capture my attention became quite clear afterwards. “The Chameleon” at first looked like a supermarket isle full of colorful cans. While in “Hiding in New York City” looked like any other downtown of a city. But, there was more going on than what appeared on the surface. Both pictures illustrate how it is necessary to go in depth in order to reveal more informaton or whatever because at times what appears to be like this is actually like that–and what appears to be like that is actually like this. These facts make me feel insecure because it made me think that nothing is what it appears to be. In these pictures, had I been at those places, someone would have beens watching me, and if I had not stopped to look deeper, I made have jumped to a wrong conclusion like, for example, I would have approached the isle or the place in the city where the invisible man hid camaflouged–and then who knows what may have happened.

As a conclusion, I want to say that in all the art work there is always a hidden meaning. The truth behind Bolin’s amazing images: He created them to protest against the action of the Government of his country China, who shut down his art studio in 2005; his government persecutes artists. For Bolin, they were both about not fitting into modern society. Despite problems with Chinese authorities, he wanted to show the art of hiding himself in a fake world where nobody is able to see him and judge him. His work is now appreciated at an international level.

Visual Images

Liu Bolin, T. i. (2012). The telegraph . Retrieved from


Bolin, L. (n.d.). The telegraph. Retrieved from



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