Concertina or bust: Li Hongbo's bizarre flexible sculptures
At a glance, Li Hongbo's sculptures resemble typical white plaster busts. Take hold of one, and pull it (the sort of behavior liable to have one jettisoned from most galleries, admittedly), and you'll find they're altogether less rigid and static…
Li's medium is paper, which he works into concertina sculptures that can be pulled apart and twisted, stretching and distorting human heads, skulls and vertebrae (anatomy seems to be the central theme) into distinctly inhuman forms. The effect is both gripping and just a touch unsettling.
The detailed process Li uses to create his works is not entirely clear, though each sculpture is composed of hundreds of individual flat pieces of paper that Li individually, and painstakingly, glues together by hand.
Having a design background, the Beijing-based artist became interested in the paper toys of his native China. It's a rich tradition of papercraft that Li's work admirably continues.
A video of Li's work at the recent Pure White Paper exhibition at Sydney's Dominik Mersch Gallery is beloooooooooooooow: