Temporarily seen hovering above small European towns or balancing on a river in floating canoes are elaborate bridges designed to be constructed and demolished in a matter of days. The ongoing work of Olivier Grossetête, the cardboard-and-tape pieces are entirely hand-built by the French artist and local residents. Each ephemeral installation, which Grossetête refers to as “utopian building(s), temporary and useless,” appears for only a day or two before it’s taken down and the public is asked to stomp on and destroy the cardboard. “This is an integral part of the project,” the artist says in a statement. “This symbolic moment is fun.” While they’re on display, the architectural works are often tethered between hot air balloons and existing buildings, which makes them appear dream-like as they float above the urban landscape.
Grossetête has been utilizing the cheap, flexible material for more than ten years because it’s easy to manipulate, allowing the installations to spring up and be removed relatively quickly. “Despite its appearance, it has quite extraordinary capacities and is very light. It doesn’t scare anyone, and it allows me to open my practice to the greatest number of people,” he says, explaining that it’s also emblematic of cultural signifiers. “It is the symbol of the false and of the appearance! I like to make this parallel between architecture, an instrument of power, and the false, the appearance.”
Currently living in Jausiers in the Alpes de Hautes Provences, Grossetête is headed to 23 Milhas in , Portugal for his next installation, which will be up from July 31 to August 1. You can explore more than a decade of his works on his site.
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New Articulate Cardboard Sculptures by Greg Olijnyk Populate Miniature Worlds of Fantasy and Science Fiction
An eerie pair of buildings, a jet-powered dragonfly, and a sci-fi-inspired retelling of David and Goliath complete with an oversized robot and samurai comprise the latest cardboard sculptures by Greg Olijnyk (previously). Fully articulate and outfitted with LED lights and glass where necessary, the extraordinarily detailed works are futuristic, slightly dystopic, and part of larger world-building narratives. The architectural constructions, for example, are “the start of a series of pieces exploring the fear, fascination, and curiosity aroused by the stranger in our midst. The weird presence out of place. The building of unknown purpose with no windows and with lights flickering at night,” he says. “What’s going on in there?”
Olijnyk is based in Melbourne and shares works-in-progress and more photos of the machine-like sculptures shown here on his Instagram.
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Swiss sound artist Zimoun (previously) harnesses the power of quick, chaotic movements in his large-scale installations and kinetic sculptures. Each artwork is composed of simple materials like cardboard boxes, wooden dowels, and cotton balls, among other common objects. Zimoun assembles multiples of the same configuration—think teetering sticks and metal washers suspended on a wire—and motorizes one portion, causing them to rattle back and forth.
Because each component is made by hand, they have slight differences that prevent them from synchronizing, despite all the motors being connected to a single current. The frenzied movements contrast the calming, whirring sounds the artworks emit, which mimic raindrops or a repetitive drum. This juxtaposition is just one example of the many comparisons the artist draws: chaos vs. order, mass vs. individual, simplicity vs. complexity, and manufactured vs. organic.
Considering this theme, Zimoun names each piece by listing the materials used to connect the discrete components and the whole. For example, a recent project that forms a square on the floor (shown below) is titled “1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” “In my work, I do not try to transport specific associations but rather to create atmospheric spaces and states that invite us to observe, think, and reflect on various levels,” he says.
In the compilation video above, Zimoun showcases a variety of the sculptures and installations from his extensive body of work, many of which you can explore individually on Vimeo and follow on Instagram.
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Until now, Greg Olijnyk’s cardboard robots have been poised for adventure, whether perched on a speed bike or sailing an undulating sea. His meticulously crafted universe, though, has taken an eerie and slightly dystopic turn. The Melbourne-based artist presents fully articulate robots lying on an operating table and attempting to wrangle an aloe plant bound to a cage. Complete with LED lights and glass where necessary, the latest iteration even features an illustrated danger sign, warning that the plant will soon breach its enclosure.
To follow the latest sculptures in Olijnyk’s science-fiction inspired reality, head to Instagram, where he shares process shots and videos of the robots in action.
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Extraordinarily Intricate Cardboard Robots by Greg Olijnyk Feature Embedded Lights and Moveable Limbs
Imbued with a penchant for adventure, Greg Olijnyk’s cardboard robots are ready to zoom around on a Vesbot or dodge oncoming bumper cars. The fully operative sculptures have bendable limbs, spinning wheels, and glowing LED lights that add an ambience to “Speedybot Dodgem” and serve as functioning headlights. Olijnyk also created a robotic dog that’s perched on the back of the scooter as an intrepid companion.
The artist’s recent sculptures are similar to his previous projects that are influenced by science fiction. He tells Colossal that he has “a fascination with mechanical shapes, girders and, of course, robots, resulting in original works that hopefully, tell a bit of a story.” Each piece has a potential for movement, whether it be a figure who’s descended into a crouch or another with its hands positioned on its hips.
Based in Melbourne, Olijnyk is a full-time graphic designer and says he transitions to 3D, analogue projects as a way to contrast his daily digital work. Follow him on Instagram to see step-by-step process shots and check out the playful escapades his mustachioed robots and their pets undertake next.
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Sci-Fi Inspired Cardboard Sculptures by Greg Olijnyk Feature Fully Articulated Limbs and Working Motors
To balance out his working life as a graphic designer focused on 2-D digital projects, Greg Olijnyk creates cardboard sculptures in his free time. The remarkably refined artworks are made with packaging-grade cardboard and tracing paper, and finishing touches added with LED lighting and glass accessories.
Cardboard’s affordability and malleability, as well as its surprisingly pleasing surface texture and color, have made it the medium of choice for Olijnyk. The designer tells Colossal that each piece comes together organically, and he draws inspiration from sci-fi books and things he finds on Pinterest as he evolves each concept. “Every piece has the limitations and advantages of the cardboard material in mind, how it bends, how strong it will be, etc.,” Olijnyk explains. “The sailing boat sculpture started with the desire to use a pleated, folding effect to simulate water and the rest of the form evolved over the course of a few months.”
As part of his engineering efforts, Olijnyk incorporates movement and articulation. His robot limbs are movable, and wheels rotate. In some of his works, the designer even incorporates solar panels and small motors to activate various components. “Even if, once behind glass, they remain frozen in a pose, I like to know that the capacity is there to bring them to life,” Olijnyk tells Colossal.
Olijnyk notes that he admires fellow Melbourne-based sculptor Daniel Agdag, who creates similarly fanciful worlds using precisely manipulated cardboard. See more from Olijnyk’s studio as he starts new projects and shares the process on Instagram.
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