Chinese artist Li Hongbo shows his paper sculpture work, which is made of 6,000 pieces of paper, while raising it at his studio on the outskirts of Beijing. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Beijing artist Li Hongbo’s sculptures look conventional at first – but they’re anything but. Made of thousands of layers of paper, they confound all expectations of solidity.
The line of white, classical busts in Li Hongbo’s dusty Beijing studio could be used for drawing practice in any art classroom in the world. That is until the Chinese artist places his hands on one and lifts gently.
What had looked exactly like solid plaster is transformed into an amorphous worm. A Roman soldier warps like taffy. A pretty English maid rises abruptly like a ghost before slipping back into place as if nothing had happened.
Neither plaster nor clay, the statues are concertinas of thousands upon thousands of fine pieces of paper.