Design Boom/Beautiful Decay (by Hayley Evans):
Li Hongbo is a Beijing-based artist who builds elaborate and flexible paper sculptures that ripple and shift before our eyes. Featured here is “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day,” a large-scale installation currently on display at the SCAD Museum of Art.
The work—which spans the entirety of a gallery—involves thousands of small paper objects bound together by honeycomb layers of glue. Close up, the bright shapes align themselves like an undulating, flowery rainbow; step back, however, and you’ll see that together the shapes amass into the greater form of guns and artillery. In a surprising clash of innocent colors and delicate paper with the brutality of war, Hongbo produces a curious (and potentially deceitful) optimism for deadly weapons.
Hongbo’s work draws upon the ancient, cultural tradition of paper-making in China, which dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Inspired by this art form, Hongbo has reinvented it on a grand scale. Other projects include malleable bodies and busts, such as a version of Michelangelo’s David that unfolds spectacularly. The ability to metamorphose is integral to Hongbo’s works; with the politics left aside (or at least ambiguous), his sculptures challenge our perceptions by unsettling solid forms with their built-in fluidity. Whether it’s guns or classical statues, we can’t help but to reconsider the materiality and purpose of objects as they transform before our eyes.
“Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” will be showing until January 24th, 2016.
Check out SCAD’s website to learn more.