Artist Feature: Li Hongbo

Editor Shenyah Webb, Art, December 31st, 2015

Art is a path of peace in a violent world.

Li Hongbo gun art installation nailed magazine


“Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” is an installation not just impressive for the meticulous skill of folding and adhering laminated paper using a honeycombed technique, but also for the message and meaning beneath the surface.

In this work, Li Hongbo examines the disturbance and struggles of war and weapons with hundreds of candy-colored pistols designed to fan out into flashy prismatic hills, blooming into a kingdom all their own. By removing all signs of disorder and annihilation, he transforms the malevolent intent of guns into a delicate landscape, reflecting the dueling forces of war and peace.

The reality of gun violence has become a part of our everyday lives and it seems as if we are becoming desensitized to its presence. Although more and more suffer from the repercussions of gun violence, it seems less shocking each time we hear news of war or massacre, fading more quickly with each blow, blurring the idea of living in fear.

All the while we continue to work toward our dreams, carry out our days, drink our morning coffee, we ignore the brutal truth of the magnitude of violence in our world. What else can we do? We are in a constant state of grieving.

Reflected in this installation, our human fragility becomes apparent. Although the optimistic world we often paint to disguise our fears may appear joyful and inviting, it is often delicate and vulnerable. This is okay. We are human, we are broken, and we are healing.

“Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” will be showing at the SCAD Museum of Art until January 24th, 2016. All images are courtesy of Klein Sun Gallery and SCAD Museum of Art.

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Li Hongbo was born in Jilin, China, in 1974. He earned his BFA from Jilin Normal University in 1996. He then earned his first MFA in 2002 from the Folk Art Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and concluded his formal education with a second MFA from the Experimental Art Department of the same school, in 2010. He is best known for his interpretations of paper. Utilizing an age-old honeycomb technique seen in paper gourd making in China, Li creates kinetic paper works that expand, contract and retract elegantly. He currently lives and works in Beijing, China. He is represented by Klein Sun Gallery in New York. (


Shenyah Webb

Shenyah Webb is a Portland-based visual artist and musician. She has been with NAILED Magazine since its inception in 2012 and has served as the Arts Editor and a Contributing Editor since its launch in 2013. A Detroit native, she attended The College for Creative Studies, where she focused on Fine Art and Industrial Design. She is currently enrolled in a Somatic Expressive Arts Education and Therapy training program, studying under Lanie Bergin. You can learn more about Shenyah here. (