The former book editor and designer whose fascination with one material has gone to artistic extremes.
Even for a book editor Beijing based Li Hongbo has an unusual attachment to paper. “I love it and collect it,” he says. He also does increasingly audacious experiments with it.
What at first looks like delicate works of carved porcelain are actually thousands of layers of glued thin paper. Hongbo builds the honeycomb-like structures by strategically placing the glue on each sheet of paper, and then gives the desired shape to it. It’s truly impressive to see Li’s sculptures twist, move, spread, bend and contract.
The idea of flexible paper sculptures comes from traditional Chinese paper decorations that are flat at first but when pulled, may be extended into a proper shape. The artist took it apart to see how it was made. “I realized it’s really quite simple,” he says. “Yet the flexibility in terms of shape and properties is amazing.” He reproduced the mechanical process manually, making it into a painstaking craft, which requires a whole new level of perfection to achieve the machine made rendering. The artist hopes the work will awaken viewers to what captivates his own imagination: ‘the endless possibilities of paper.’
Text: Magali Elali
Pictures: Li Hongbo
In a former industrial complex, the Dutch designer’s space is a mix of laboratory, workshop, showroom, shop and restaurant.