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Concertina or bust: Li Hongbo's bizarre flexible sculptures

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February 12, 2013

A paper bust with a difference (Image: Dominik Mersch Gallery)

A paper bust with a difference (Image: Dominik Mersch Gallery)

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At a glance, Li Hongbo's sculptures resemble typical white plaster busts. Take hold of one, and pull it (the sort of behavior liable to have one jettisoned from most galleries, admittedly), and you'll find they're altogether less rigid and static…

Li's medium is paper, which he works into concertina sculptures that can be pulled apart and twisted, stretching and distorting human heads, skulls and vertebrae (anatomy seems to be the central theme) into distinctly inhuman forms. The effect is both gripping and just a touch unsettling.

The detailed process Li uses to create his works is not entirely clear, though each sculpture is composed of hundreds of individual flat pieces of paper that Li individually, and painstakingly, glues together by hand.

Having a design background, the Beijing-based artist became interested in the paper toys of his native China. It's a rich tradition of papercraft that Li's work admirably continues.

A video of Li's work at the recent Pure White Paper exhibition at Sydney's Dominik Mersch Gallery is beloooooooooooooow:

Source: Dominik Mersch Gallery, via Colossal

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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