Bending like etherial images from our dreams, the insanely complex sculptures of Beijing based Li Hongbo look solidly constructed until they are surprisingly bent into long undulating shapes. Hongbo constructs his sculptures out of a multitude of paper layers, carefully hand gluing thousands together to form a solid whole – one which often looks more like white marble or resin.
A book editor and designer by trade, Hongbo became fascinated by Chinese toys and festive decorations known as ‘paper gourd.’ These paper based objects feature a stacked honeycomb of interconnected paper, expanding when you pull to separate them. It’s the same concept as those paper snowflakes you see during the holidays. Enjoying the simplicity of their design and seeing a host of possibilities, he began gluing together large blocks using the technique and then carving complex sculptures from them just as you would with marble.
Recently exhibited at Waterloo, Australia’s Dominik Mersch Gallery, his statues and busts are featured in various states of expansion and collapse. Tall statues stand on compressed legs while their arms dangle curling on the floor below; a woman lounges, curving her limbs around an entire sofa; and even a wood-like block performs an impossible looking twist. To see more of these amazing pieces, visit dominikmerschgallery.com.