It Took Thousands of Hours to Create These Twisted Wire Sculptures

Each of Claude-Olivier Guay's transforming creations can take up to 1,000 hours of labor.
January 26, 2017, 4:15pm
GIF via Vimeo

Clichés about not judging books by their covers were made for situations like looking at Québécois artist Claude-Olivier Guay's transforming wire sculptures. At a glance, they look like mannequin heads, bodies, and appendages, but they unfold to reveal painstakingly-crafted wire animals that Guay sculps with just a pair of pliers and his own hands.

Each work can take as many as 1,000 hours and nearly 2,000 feet of wire. Guay's process is a mixture of planning and a meditative, rhythmic labor that he thinks of as the antithesis of mass production. Before he even touches pliers, he sketches a loose plan, figuring out which parts are essential and which can adapt to the mechanism. "When I create, I start with the affinities between the shapes of human and animal parts, how they can come together in a meaningful way," he explains to The Creators Process. His thought process is rooted in an experience in which he came across a rotting bear carcass and noticed all the life that happens after death. "One could say that that bear never died, that he was just taken over by bacteria and insects in a process of redistribution," Guay says.


His newest work is a disembodied head called Cénotaphe that becomes a plague of locusts when unpacked. Since graduating from the Université du Québec à Montréal with a visual arts BA in 2013, he's also created a wolf-woman called La Tanière, a skull called Imago that transforms into a feathered bird, and Multitudes, a human arm that becomes a swarm of insects. Guay demonstrates each artwork with a mesmerizing stop-motion video of the transformation, which you can check out below.

Screencap via Vimeo

Screencap via Vimeo

Follow Claude-Olivier Guay on his website.

Via This Is Colossal


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