Although New York-based artist Long-bin Chen‘s incredibly realistic sculptures appear to be made from stone or marble, the unique busts are actually carved from recycled paper. Chen, who was born and raised in Taiwan, uses discarded materials like books and magazines to carefully sculpt the heads of cultural figures from the East and the West, including Buddhas, Japanese warriors, ancient Greek philosophers, and other great thinkers of the past.
For Chen, his use of paper and discarded print material has special meaning, a reflection of human consumption and waste as well as the loss of books as aesthetic objects in our modern age. “In my artwork I always use printed matter–discarded books, magazines, and computer printouts; the cultural debris of our information society,” the artist says. “The sculptures I create reference Eastern and Western icons and intellectual figures, thereby exploring cultural meanings and concepts. I always use text in my work and the content of the texts are relevant to my sculptures. My finished sculptures often seem to be wood or marble, though they consist of paper. They are constructed in such a way that the various parts fit together in a seamless manner.”