Li Hongbo’s stunning flexible sculptures are not what they seem

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Li HongboTeaching Aid, 2014, paper

Published: July 19, 2017

Last updated:

Introduction

Li Hongbo is an artist based in Beijing, China and creates unusual and surprising art pieces from paper. A designer and book editor, Li Hongbo started collecting and experimenting his ideas with paper after being inspired by the festive ‘paper gourd’ decorations and traditional Chinese boys’ toys. Both of these pieces have a simple but amazing ‘honeycomb’ composition and can be molded into any shape.

His technique

He takes thousands of paper sheets and glues them together to make a large block of paper. He then carves into the paper by the use of an electronic saw and makes a form that is stretchable, just like an accordion. This transforms the final piece into something that is very different from the original pieces of paper. From a distance, these pieces look like they are made of porcelain or marble. However, these characteristic changes when the pieces are stretched and expanded. It is possible to snap everything back to its original position after the expansion without losing the qualities of the sculpture.

The pieces continue to amaze many visitors to the galleries where they are exhibited with many wishing they had a chance to play with the pieces. Apart from the art, Li spends lots of time writing about Buddhist paper art.

Video: Statues in Motion

1min 59sec

Biography

Li Hongbo has appeared in several major exhibitions such as the SCAD Museum of Art, Beijing Minsheng Museum and 18th Biennale of Sydney in 20120, for which he created thousands of brightly colored paper flowers in the beautiful scenery. However, when the flowers are flattened, they reveal hidden weapons such as AK 47s and pistols. The artist also has several private collections and has the White Rabbit Collection, the Central Academy of Fine Arts at the Beijing and Found Museum in Beijing.

Photos of paper sculptures

Li Hongbo - Teaching Aid
Li HongboTeaching Aid, 2014, paper

Li Hongbo - Bust of Agrippa, 2012, paper, 60x36x32cm
Li HongboBust of Agrippa, 2012, paper, 60x36x32cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Agrippa, 2012, paper, 60x36x32cm
Li HongboBust of Agrippa, 2012, paper, 60x36x32cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of David, 2012, paper, 70x50x50cm
Li HongboBust of David, 2012, paper, 70x50x50cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of David, 2012, paper, 70x50x50cm
Li HongboBust of David, 2012, paper, 70x50x50cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Lion Hat, 2012, paper, 60x40x30cm
Li HongboBust of Lion Hat, 2012, paper, 60x40x30cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Lion Hat, 2012, paper, 60x40x30cm
Li HongboBust of Lion Hat, 2012, paper, 60x40x30cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Marseilles, 2012, paper, 60x36x35cm
Li HongboBust of Marseilles, 2012, paper, 60x36x35cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Marseilles, 2012, paper, 60x36x35cm
Li HongboBust of Marseilles, 2012, paper, 60x36x35cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Michelangelo, 2012, paper, 50x20x25cm
Li HongboBust of Michelangelo, 2012, paper, 50x20x25cm

Li Hongbo - Bust of Michelangelo, 2012, paper, 50x20x25cm
Li HongboBust of Michelangelo, 2012, paper, 50x20x25cm


Li Hongbo detail

Li Hongbo - Roman Youth, 2013, paper, 52x36x26cm
Li HongboRoman Youth, 2013, paper, 52x36x26cm

Li Hongbo - Roman Youth, 2013, paper, 52x36x26cm
Li HongboRoman Youth, 2013, paper, 52x36x26cm

Li Hongbo - Roman Youth, 2013, paper, 52x36x26cm
Li HongboRoman Youth, 2013, paper, 52x36x26cm

Li Hongbo - Torso of a young woman, 2012, paper 58x32x25cm
Li HongboTorso of a young woman, 2012, paper, 58x32x25cm

Li Hongbo - Torso of a young woman, 2012, paper 58x32x25cm
Li HongboTorso of a young woman, 2012, paper, 58x32x25cm

Photo: Li Hongbo/galleryek.com

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