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 Economics and completing his studies, he finally chose to move into web design. 15 years on, he took advantage of a period of convalescence to go back to roots, 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.
Everything started when Aurelien Raynaud, an amazing animal sculptor, contacted me to explain that he had heard about my work and that it was absolutely necessary that I dare to show it. This recognition by one of my peers provide me the confidence I
First exhibition, the Art Capital Salon taking place at the Grand Palais in February 2019. On this occasion, the gorilla was one of the public’s special favourites and was awarded this French artists’ fair’s Bronze Medal, an extremely rare honour for a first-time participation in the event.
“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, get rid of, and of striving to make it desirable.
By sculpting cardboard animals, I really feel as if I’m totally in tune with my favourite topic, i.e. 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 harmonizing the subject and its material, I try, in my own way, to sound the alarm bell as to the precariousness of animal species.”
Olivier 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.
The framework is designed from slices of cardboard nested together. Some artworks receive metal rods integrated into their structure to allow them to cantilever, or to be fixed to their bases.