42. Bulldozer, Hiding in the City No. 71, by Liu Bolin, 2008

In a 2012 article for Harper's Bazaar, Laura Brown describes the 2005 incident that drove Bolin to create the work he is known for today: "Liu Bolin watched as the artists' village in Beijing where he worked was demolished by the Chinese government. In protest... he painted himself into the wreckage of the artist's studios." Liu goes on to say 'It is very difficult for Chinese artists to earn their living; we are all martyrs of art.' Bolin's art career is a course of poetic tragedy; one born from violent destruction and inspired by bulldozed rubble. Perhaps that is why Liu's Bulldozer is particularly affective. Liu painted himself into the machine of his artistic birth and demise. Better yet, Liu has become one with the cause of his greatest trauma. And while his other photographic works focus on Chinese landscapes and monuments or issues of globalization and commodity, Bulldozer remains particularly powerful because of its ties to Liu's own experiences as a contemporary artist in China.

image via