heARTbeat: Li Hongbo’s Astounding Love of Paper

ColumnChinese artist Li Hongbo explores the endless possibilities of paper as medium.

Li Hongbo is a Chinese artist, book editor and designer who recently graduated from the experimental art department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. His work was shown in this year’s Sydney Biennial, a prestigious feat for a young Chinese artist.

Of his medium – and the name of his latest series, Paper – Hongbo says, “I love it and collect it.” He also experiments with the nature of it’s properties. “I realised it’s really quite simple,” he says, “yet the flexibility in terms of shape and properties is amazing.”

Amazing also describes his sculptures, wrought entirely of common brown wrapping paper. His series Paper, was inspired by one of the “honeycomb” paper balls one can find in Chinatown. After taking it apart to see how it was made, Hongbo fashioned more than 30,000 sheets of the wrapping paper together with carefully placed strips of glue. This formed two large blocks of “wood.” From these blocks, Hongbo carved two identical human figures, and the series began.

He hopes the work will awaken viewers to what captivates his own imagination: “the endless possibilities of paper.”

His sensuously malleable shapes endear more than the medium to his audience. The haunting quality of impermanence and flexibility draw us towards his pieces to see if indeed we might pick them up and move them like a Slinky or open them like the lanterns that inspired them.

Inspired by a post on designboom.

Eco, trends, art, creativity and how they tumble through social media to shape culture fascinate EcoSalon columnist Dominique Pacheco. Her trends blog, mixingreality, speaks to these topics daily, and here at EcoSalon, she takes a weekly look at the intersection of eco and art. We call it heARTbeat.

Dominique Pacheco

Dominique Pacheco is the author of EcoSalon's weekly heARTbeat column.