From an inch away, the sculptures of Li Hongbo look like plaster. They are not. These large reproductions of classical busts are 100% paper. And I’m not talking about papier-mâché, or cast paper pulp, or painted paper – just a stack of raw white paper, impossibly carved by hand.
The “block” from which each sculpture is carved is composed of thousands of sheets of paper, each glued (one at a time!) in a precise and delicate pattern of stripes. When lifted or manipulated by gallery staff, the pattern relieves itself, effortlessly expanding like a delicate accordion or alien honeycomb.