Kultureline INTL
on June 12, 2014 427 views

Paper Sculpture/Traditional Sculptures
Paper Sculpture, according to some school of thought, is an art of folding, or making solid figures from papers or act of building paper into shapes representing objects. It is done all over the world but more common in some Asian countries like: Japan, China etc.
The word “sculpture” itself means different thing to different cultures. Some believe that it is an art or practice of shaping things, figures or designs in the round or relief, as by chiseling marble, modeling clay, or casting in metal. Some said it is an art of processing, carving, modeling or welding plastic or hard materials into art work produced by sculpture or three dimensional works of arts, like stature.

Traditionally sculpture, though, diverse and changing throughout history, is simple and focused more on carving and modeling objects like: stones, metals, woods, bronzes and other durable materials. Sometimes, rare and precious materials like: gold, ivory, silver and jade were used for chryselephantine works too. Myanmar traditional sculpture consists of: wood, stone and plastics, but in general, sculpture of wood origin is more in many cities of Myanmar.

Ancient Egypt, like Myanmar, is also a center of monumental sculptures, and prominent amongst them are the sculptures of king Pharaohs, royalty and rest of them. In West Africa, the earliest known sculptures are from the Nok cultures in Nigeria. It is dated back to around 500 BC. Most of the Traditional sculptures were not painted. Even when they do, they often lose their glows to: time, wear and tears etc. Some of the painting techniques commonly seen in sculpture include: tempera, aerosol, enamel, gilding, house paint, sandblasting etc.


The line of pure white busts sitting amongst the dust in Li Hongbo's Beijing studio could be found in any art classroom around the world.
That is until the 38-year-old Chinese artist places his hands on one, lifts gently, and what had seemed like solid plaster transforms into a live, amorphous mass.
A roman soldier stretches like elastic, a pretty English maid suddenly rises like a terrible phantasm. They are neither plaster nor clay, but concertinas of thousands of fine pieces of paper."At the beginning, I discovered the flexible nature of paper through Chinese paper toys and paper lanterns. Later, I used this to make a gun. A gun is solid, used for killing, but I turned it into a tool for play or for decoration. In this way, it lost both the form of a gun, and the culture inherent to a gun. It became a game," he said.

To make his sculptures Li uses a stencil to paste glue in narrow strips across large pieces of paper that he then sticks together to form blocks of 500.
He stacks the blocks to the desired height -- an average bust is over ten blocks or 5,000 sheets of paper high -- then cuts, chisels and sands the large block just as if it were a piece of soft stone. Born into a simple farming family, Li said he has always loved paper, first invented in ancient China. He has spent six years producing a collection of books recording more than 1,000 years of Buddhist art on paper.
In his recent works, Li has consciously produced only perfect replicas of classical busts and shapes he used to sketch at university. The denatured human forms may make some people squirm, but Li says he uses the archetypal figures to make audiences concentrate on the material, not to shock.

"'Strange' and 'unsettling' are just adjectives used by some individuals. In fact, people have a fixed understanding of what a human is, and think that a human cannot be physically manipulated, so when you transform a person, people will reconsider the nature of objects and the motivation behind the creation. This is what I care about," he said. His exhibition 'Tools of Study' at the Klein Sun gallery in New York has earned him plenty of attention across the Pacific since it opened on January 9th.
Gallery assistants pull the twenty pieces around on their plinths for visitors, but not being allowed to touch pieces themselves leaves some feeling unfulfilled.
"You know, when you can open it, there's movement, there's mobility, it becomes a dynamic thing versus a very static thing. You know, but it's like, of course, as an observer, it's like, I can only enjoy that momentum or that movement of the object if someone opens it for me. It's so funny, because it's like, enticing. You kind of want to play with it but you can't," said one visitor, Lydia Chrisman, on Tuesday (January 21).

Li is aware of this irony, and at a show in Sydney provided small models for the audience to play with. But it could be for the best. Though he refused to disclose prices, growing demand for his works means the cost of a real one would probably stretch your wallet.
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