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Artistic Reincarnations

Sculptor Audrey Guimard recycles natural materials to give them a second lease of life.

Audrey Guimard

Self-taught Audrey Guimard is not just a sculptor. She works across many mediums, from photography, architecture, land art to sculpting and scenography. A great admirer of nature with a strong sense of awareness in creating and experiencing art, she creates monumental pieces as well as smaller objects.

She recently participated in Hermès’ Académie des Savoir-Faire to question ancestral know-how and the contemporaneity of stone. Keen to develop partnerships with artisans in other countries and regions, Guimard is seeking to combine art, crafts, design, artistic installations, architecture and land art.

Splitting her time between Paris and the South of France, she works with galleries such as Spazio Nobile in Brussels. A sustainable dimension is fundamental in her practice, especially when working with quarry tailings and materials collected in nature.

Guimard discusses her method and philosophy with Billionaire.

How did your work across different genres start?
There’s a link between all these mediums, a way of apprehending matter and space. I think this is due to my wonderful childhood in the mountains, in a little earthly paradise in the Pyrénées-Orientales. A lot of climbing, building tools, building wooden or stone huts, a lot of contemplation. For the past four years, my favourite material has undoubtedly been stone, but I also like to combine it with other crafts such as metal, glass, wood and earth.

What are you are working on currently?
My big project is the renovation and creation of a place I bought two years ago, an old wine cellar, to create a workshop for my stonemasonry practice, but also a residence for artists who will work with the wonderful materials of my region. I want to welcome artists from all walks of life to imagine bigger creative projects together. I want to meet, share and build together: that is my dream plan. I’ve just completed a huge project with my architect colleague Sophia Becker, and I’m currently looking for patrons, partners and collaborators for this great adventure. Prior to that, for several years I’ve been collaborating with artist Marie Jeunet, who works in glass, which we link to stone. We work on luminous sculptures presented by Philia Galerie.

You often use upcycled materials. Are these more popular with collectors now?
I work mainly with natural materials, recycling them in the sense that I give them a second lease of life, as they are either quarry rejects or scraps from various workshops (marble, glass, joinery). The fact of sublimating them and creating surprising one-off pieces is of great interest to collectors and institutions. Every day, I dedicate quality time to look for alternative solutions, and talk with artisans while always trying to do more with less and look for what is truly unique. I work with natural materials that are usually buried underground. I always try to use what is already available on the surface. 

How important is it to bring people and talents together?
Naturally, I believe in the importance of uniting people around projects that are meaningful, or at least beautiful. If, on top, they make the most of everyone’s skills, then you are on to lasting projects, impressions, form and emotions.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nature first and foremost; my daughter and children in general; archaeology; Georgia O’Keeffe; Constantin Brancusi; love; joy; humour; kindness; and elegance.

This article originally appeared in Billionaire's The Power of Women Issue. To subscribe, click here.