interview with paper sculptor li hongbo
interview with paper sculptor li hongbo interview with paper sculptor li hongbo
may 07, 2014
interview with paper sculptor li hongbo


li hongbo
all photos courtesy of  the artist / klein sun gallery

 

 

 

beijing-based artist and designer li hongbo manipulates sheets of paper into sensuous three-dimensional sculptures. he tells designboom more about his work.

 

 

DB: what originally made you want to become an artist?
LH: I was born in a chinese province called ji lin, and I was educated just like any other child. however, I picked up a hobby – painting. I also always liked to add little paintings that I shouldn’t have in my textbooks. the hobby stayed with me for many years. ultimately, I was lucky enough to enter into art school to study art, and I was able find a job pursuing my hobby after I graduated.

 

my creations are the result of my thought process, and I hope viewers will enjoy what I create. however, if you were to ask me about my particular thought process, I would say that I pay attention to everybody in my life, and every little thing that surrounds me. because of that my work is closely connected to daily life.

 

 


li hongbo: statues in motion
video courtesy of todd martin

 

 

 

DB: who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?
LH: there is a chinese saying, ‘life is as fragile as paper’, which has made a deep impact on me. due to my past jobs, I have become very familiar with paper. this revealed to me the importance of paper to both society and individuals. it also allowed me to explore paper’s hidden, broad expanse of uses.

 

 

li-hongbo-tools-of-study-designboom-02
‘torso of a young woman’, 2012
paper
58 x 32 x 25cm

 

 

 

li-hongbo-tools-of-study-designboom-01
‘torso of a young woman’, 2012
paper
58 x 32 x 25cm

 

 

 

li-hongbo-tools-of-study-designboom-13
bust of marseilles, 2012
paper
60 x 36 x 35cm

 

 

li-hongbo-tools-of-study-designboom-12
bust of marseilles, 2012
paper
60 x 36 x 35cm

 

 

 

DB: your work challenges the way we perceive form… what drew you to this theme?
LH: when people look at a box, they think ‘it’s a box’ but, actually, it can change into another thing. I want to change the image, change how people see things so they think in a deeper way.

 

 

DB: how would you describe the evolution of your style?
LH: with the development of my structure of knowledge and my personal life experiences, my style has improved. each one of my works displays my inner world.

 

 

li-hongbo-tools-of-study-designboom-15
‘bust of david’, 2012
paper
70 x 50 x 50cm

 

 

li-hongbo-tools-of-study-designboom-14
‘bust of david’, 2012
paper
70 x 50 x 50cm

 

 

li hongbo exhibits flexible paper busts for tools of study
skull, 2013
paper
24 x 15 x 16cm
 
 
 
li hongbo exhibits flexible paper busts for tools of study
skull, 2013
paper
24 x 15 x 16cm
 
 
 
DB: could you describe your process when it comes to starting a new work?
LH: my artistic creations have many themes, but they are all closely linked to my thoughts, my experiences, and my current life. the themes are produced by my formless inner thoughts.
 
I layer sheet of paper one by one attaching each with glue at specific points to create a honeycomb pattern. each sheet is glued individually by hand until I’ve created a small block. I use a woodworking saw to create the initial cuts, discarding excess paper and reducing the area of the block into the form I’m striving for. as the saw becomes impractical for cutting, I switch to an angle grinder. this allows me to achieve greater detail and I put the finishing touches on the sculpture with sandpaper.
 
 


‘smart little man’, 2012
paper
131 x 66cm

 

 

girls
girls, 2012
paper
dimensions variable

 

 

 

DB: what do you do to keep your ideas fresh?
LH: I never intentionally try to keep my ideas fresh. I do however, always maintain a thirst for new knowledge, the love of life, and an enthusiasm about the things that surround me.

 

 

DB: what do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 21?
LH: how I wish I could have known to cherish time when I was 21! knowing this today, I’ve started to regret that I lost my youth. I feel as if every day is so short now.

 

 

Li_Hongbo_Dream_paper_180x70x60cm_2011
dream, 2011
paper
80 x 70 x 60cm

 

 

 

DB: what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
LH: at the moment, I often recall my experience painting as a student. this nostalgia is what lead me to produce the ‘tools of study’ series.

 

 

DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs?
LH: I revere all human beliefs, and I establish friendships with all kinds of people who hold all different kinds of beliefs.

 

 

DB: what’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?
LH: wow! the malaysia airlines flight mh370 was lost so unexpectedly! there are so many advanced radar technologies, and so many countries have come together for the search and rescue, I cannot believe that a civilian aircraft could be lost so suddenly.

 

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li hongbo (7 articles)