fallen/legen blog

Can camouflage create more missing meaning?

von Mario Wimmer

Chinese artist Liu Bolin perceives human development as a process of constant destruction. For him, humans unlike animals constantly and in an aggressive way change their environment. Instead of fitting in themselves, humans change their sourroundings until they fit. His major example for this assumption is the recent history of China:

“Sometimes I feel fortunate that I was not born in the 1950s. The people in this generation experienced everything. They had many common ecperiences: having a deep feeling to Chairman Mao, cultural revolution, unnormal education, never going to college, obtaining iron rice bowl but meeting laid-off wave, cancelling to distribute houses, starting to buy houses, children going to school at their own expense and so on.”

In this process he claims we literally forgot how to fit in. And not only that, by constantly changing our environment we also rid it of a whole lot of meaning. We did not only forget how to fit in a meaningfull world but forgot all meaning that lay in this world. Bolin claims we did even forget to think about meaning and fitting at all. He tries to cope with that fact by imitating the one animal that is the most specialised at fitting in: the cameleon.

At the center of his photographs there is always him, but you might not recognize him immediatly because he is covered in thick layers of paint, a near perfect reproduction of the background. Liu Bolin does not only recognize or take into account his environment, he becomes a part of it by perfectly fitting in. But how exactly should this act of “fitting in” create meaning?

The first thing you actually think when you see his photographs is: This is so photoshopped. Photo editing software, incarnation of a world that is in need of constant change and maybe constant meaninglessness. And here the viscious circle of mild overinterpretation and midnight philosophy closes – if you don’t get the hang of it you can still play seeking games, some of the works are actually quite tricky.

More of Liu Bolins “Camouflage” series can be found on the webpage of french gallery Bertin-Toublanc, they also have a short essay written by him there.

Even more pictures at Hornbill blog, Oddity Central and Designboom.

via Wide Open Spaces.

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