Olivier Bertrand was born in Marseille in 1975, to a French father and an Asian mother. He became fascinated with drawing, visual arts and, more specifically, origami at a very early age. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been captivated by the metamorphosis of a simple sheet of paper which, with a few smart folds, comes to life and sparks emotion.”
After graduating with a Master’s in Economic, he finally chose to move into web design. 15 years on, he took advantage of a period of convalescence to go back to his first love. Although this time round he’s not folding pieces of paper, his mantra remains the same: and it’s cardboard that he works with a new twist. By assembling bits of cardboard together, he now creates extraordinarily-amazing life-sized animals.
The choice of cardboard animals
“Cardboard offers a host of advantages; it’s ever-so easy to get hold of and it’s a light material which is perfectly workable for large-scale subjects… I really love the idea of creating using an everyday product, one which people throw out, and of striving to make it desirable.”
Bertrand collects cardboard boxes of different thicknesses, and uses the thickest ones to build the framework of the sculpture. The sculptures are treated with a flame retardant and a transparent epoxy finishing resin to stiffen them and guarantee their durability.
“By sculpting cardboard animals, I really feel as if I’m totally in tune with my favourite topic, the environment. I enjoy choosing animals which radiate considerable power, rather contradictory actually at first glance given the fragility of the cardboard I use. Through this duality between the subject and its material, I try, in my own way, to sound the alarm bell as to the precariousness of animal species.”