-by Ernie Diaz
Everybody always asks “Where’s Waldo? Where’s Waldo?” Nobody ever asks, “How’s Waldo?” Maybe there’s a reason he’s always making himself inconspicuous in large, motley crowds. There’s a lot to be said for anonymity, wearing your ludicrous striped jersey and cap and being one more oddball in an endless swarm.
Job opportunities and 24-hour leisure options are nice, but anonymity is the true appeal of leaving towns where everybody knows your name. The current opinion on Liu Bolin’s work differs. You know the artsy types – everything’s a trenchant commentary on how much we’ve sacrificed for our consumer culture. “You see! Liu Bolin has deftly demonstrated that the modern ego is subsumed by the commoditization of the urban environment!” Some art history post-grad will tell you at the gallery.
Maybe if Liu Bolin were photo-shopping his work, then the future McDonald’s manager would have a point. But Liu Bolin actually paints himself into the scenery, with the same obsessive absorption of time and effort that drives men (why always men?) to build models of the Louvre out of match sticks. This is not the work of a man with a point, but of a man driven to lose himself, all the ego-nonsense that keeps us from instant karma, and to become pure consciousness, hovering serenely above and beyond the world around.