French artists Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann (aka Zim & Zou) make detailed props and installations entirely out of paper. Anchored in craftsmanship, they create all the elements composing their installations by hand, from drawing to cutting and assembling. The end piece, most often than not has a nostalgic flair to it (see for instance their Back to Basics series where they pay homage to the forgotten technologies of the 80s and 90s).
Having met during their graphic design studies, the two were instantly drawn to the more tangible materials, rather than computer-based designs. “We decided to use paper in many of our projects because not only is it a basic material, accessible for everyone, but because it’s a way to show the balance of power between digital and paper production,” the creative duo explained in an interview with Don’t Panic. “When today you can read a book on a screen, we needed to create ‘real’ things.”
After experimenting first with other materials such as wood, thread, and textile, they hit the jackpot with one of the more basic of materials—paper. “The aspect of craftsmanship is really important for us and paper gives us an infinite amount of possibilities,” explain Zim & Zou. According to the pair, paper allows for easy manipulation that can give rise to intricate and colorful sculptures. But paper also provides a source of inspiration for its infinite range of colors and unique textures.
“It’s very important for us when using paper to be very careful about recycling and waste,” they note. “That’s why since we started to work together we decided to keep all the scraps so later we’ll make an installation using all those different random shapes. A way to transform waste into art.” As the flat paper sheets are manipulated to create volume, an homage to the ephemeral material takes shape.