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The Dennos Museum Center

Li Hongbo & Matt Shlian: Stacked & Folded Paper As Sculpture

Li Hongbo, Matt ShlianSeptember 21, 2014 - January 4, 2015

The Dennos Museum Center brings together a Chinese and an American artist to showcase the inventive use of paper in creating sculpture.

Li Hongbo from Beijing stacks thousands of sheets of paper glued together in a honeycomb pattern, using pressure to hold them together. He then saws, cuts, and shapes the paper mass, shaving in details and adding minute touches with sandpaper. Li developed this technique over a 12-year period after developing a fascination with paper during his former career as a book editor and publisher. The results are sculptural forms of everything from a portrait bust of a person to a tree trunk. But each sculpture can 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. See more on YouTube.

Matt Shlian from Ann Arbor, Michigan, works within the increasingly nebulous space between art and engineering. As a paper engineer, Shlian’s work is rooted in print media, book arts, and commercial design, though he frequently finds himself collaborating with a cadre of scientists and researchers who are just now recognizing the practical connections between paper folding and folding at microscopic and nanoscopic scales. Learn more about Matt and his work at his website,

East meets West in this dramatic exhibition of paper as sculpture.