The Flexible Sculptures of Li Hongbo

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  • August 01, 2013
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The paper sculptures created by Li Hongbo have been floating around the internet here and there for at least a year, but within the last few months he’s finally shared his process with his fans.


Flexible Sculptures of Li Hongbo

By layering and gluing thousands of sheets of paper together, he’s able to create sculptures that look incredibly similar to porcelain, rocks, and wood in their compressed state.

He starts by layering sheets of his selected paper with glue that is applied over a template (to get the honeycomb effect). After he has the necessary number of blocks completed, he draws out a cross section and begins painstakingly cutting down each section with a woodworking saw.  He then refines even further by using a smaller hand held saw and sanders with different grits until he arrives at a finished product.


Each sculpture can then be expanded, twisted, and turned in any direction.  What I love about this artist and his work is that he takes something so fragile and delicate, and by joining it together, makes something so resilient.

But what I love most is the philosophical discussions that Li Hongbo’s sculptures spark.  Most artwork is static.  Once you’re done with a piece, that’s it.  It is what it is.  But Li Hongbo’s sculptures are fluid.  Each piece isn’t just one sculpture, it’s an infinite number of possibilities.  Every time you see one of his pieces, you might be seeing a completely different work of art.


So is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Part of me likes the static nature of art.  There’s something comforting in seeing a familiar piece and being able to related to it.  But there’s that little bit in me that likes the transient nature of Li Honbo’s sculptures.  It’s like the weather in the midwest.  If you don’t like it, just wait a day.

Lee Hongbo Gallery

By Melissa Zalinsky
(Melissa Zalinski is a web designer who has a deep appreciation for sculpture and a love of art philosophy.)

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