Li Hongbo: Tools of Study

January 9 – March 22, 2014


Press Release

Klein Sun Gallery is delighted to announce the inauguration of our new space with Li Hongbo’s first solo exhibition in the United States, "Tools of Study." With what appears to be impeccable recreations of carved porcelain masterpieces, the sculptures are in fact entirely comprised of thousands of layers of paper. Li Hongbo's stunning, stretchable, paper sculptures, inspired by both traditional folk art and his time as a student learning to sculpt, challenge our perceptions. With a technique influenced by his fascination with traditional Chinese decorations known as paper gourds—made from glued layers of paper—Li Hongbo applies a honeycomb-like structure to form remarkably flexible sculptures.

An investigation into expression through one of the oldest mediums in history, Li Hongbo invites viewers to experience paper and sculpture in a revolutionary and insightful new way. Utilizing his expert knowledge of paper's natural strengths and weaknesses, the artist has transformed the media to stretch, twist, elongate and retract as if it were a giant slinky. Through this juxtaposition of playful mobility and a traditional aesthetic, Li Hongbo breathes a unique life into his works that stuns and awes the viewer.

While studying sculpture as a student, Li Hongbo often found himself instructed to recreate classical masterpieces. To him these works became "Tools of Study." Over time, he realized that the pieces were such familiar objects not only to himself, but also the general populous, and viewers immediately assumed anything mimicking the form was bound to be a porcelain-like replica of the original. Utilizing this assumption, Li Hongbo redefines these world-renowned masterpieces and forms his own unique style.



Li Hongbo was born in Jilin, China in 1974 and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Jilin Normal University in 1996. He earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Folk Art Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2002, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the Experimental Art Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2010. His work has been exhibited in museums around the world including recent exhibitions “Li Hongbo – Out of Paper,” Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Ludwigsburg, Germany (2013); “Confronting Anitya,” Palazzo Michiel, Venice, Italy (2013); “CODA Paper Art 2013,” CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands (2013); “PaperWorks: The Art and Science of an Extraordinary Material,” Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (2013); “Hot Pot,” Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, VT (2013); “All our relations,” 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012); and "Start from the Horizon: Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Since 1978," Sishang Art Museum, Beijing, China (2011).

The exhibition will be on view at Klein Sun Gallery from January 9 through March 22, 2014 and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Lu Shengzhong, Wang Chunchen, Andrea Wolter-Abele, and Yin Shuangxi. The artist will be present for the opening reception on Thursday, January 9 from 6 - 9 PM. For more information, please contact the gallery at (212) 255-4388 or