JR shoots Liu Bolin © Zachary BakoaCurator-featured
artist Zachary Bako
has been working with artist Liu Bolin in China for some time now. Recently they were in New York, with Bako documenting a collaboration between Bolin and French artist JR.
"Liu Bolin's passion for his artwork was clear from the start. The more I worked with Liu, the more interested I got in capturing his emotion, and that of those around him, as he works. When we collaborate, I find myself peeling the camera away from my face, almost like I need to take a minute now and then just to bear witness to the intensity of the atmosphere around me. In particular, when we were in his hometown of Binzhou in Shandong Province, China, last September creating two works."
"Liu Bolin and JR have known each other for 4 or 5 years ago. They
first met in Arles, France. During Liu Bolin's first performance for
Hiding in New York in 2011 (at that time, in front of the Kenny Scharf
mural on Houston and Bowery) JR stopped by to give his regards. Almost a
year later the two would collaborate on a piece."
"First, JR photographed Liu Bolin's face (the frame denotes his left eye
partially visible through the fingers of his left hand) (Liu Bolin is
predominately left-handed when creating sculptures and painting) Then JR
and his assistants pasted the mural onto his studio door. Once the
pasting was completed, we waited for the correct light and Liu Bolin and
his assistants then painted JR into his own image. Perched on
scaffolding across the street, (there was a SUV parked from the correct
POV, so we elevated camera to combat this) Liu Bolin directed his
assistants with a laser pointer to perfect every last detail. The final
product, a photograph."
"Frankly, Liu Bolin and JR respect each other's work; even so much that
JR has collected one of Liu Bolin's pieces. I think that it is fantastic
that a cultural bridge is connected with these two artists. They are no
doubt, two very important artists of our time; both having very
distinct messages within their work. I consider their collaboration a
homage to one another." - Zachary Bako.