Li Hongbo’s Amazing Shape Shifters



Featured Artist: Li Hongbo

When we first saw a video of the shape shifting sculptures of Li Hongbo we couldn’t believe our eyes – were they real? holograms? putty?… just what the heck were they?

You have to watch a video to really see what Li’s work is all about – a static photograph does not begin to portray this mind blowing work.

They appear be typical sculpted busts, until you watch the action… so start here.

And then here. 

(Many thanks to Brett Amory for capturing this last one, an excellent demo at Scope, Miami.)






A Beijing artist, Li Hongbo. started out as a book publisher, his knowledge of paper and book construction began from the ground up. Inspired by the traditional Chinese art of the “paper gourd” – (those folding and expanding lanterns and fans you see as party decorations), he used the simple concept to create his not-so-simple art. By gluing together thousands of sheets of paper, then sculpting them with tiny saws, the sculptures become alive as they unfold, moving, stretching, expanding and distorting – in every which and wonderful way. One piece alone, took 20,000 pieces of paper!

Li emphasizes that he begins with a simple identifiable shape or object, that way the distortion is more accessible to our perception. What looks like a rock becomes a tower, a tree log expands into a room sized snake and a human head becomes a feast of strange distortions.




LINK: to another great video and interview with Li, Via

LINK: To Li’s gallery website here.

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