Nicolas Bertoux:

Red Donkey

9 June 2021 | 32 minutes
sculptor with a piece of gray-green marble

Nicolas Bertoux, LIVINGSTONE, 2020, in his workshop in Seravezza

Originally from Paris, Nicolas first came to Carrara with his father, also a sculptor, who was working on a monumental piece at Henraux.

Now he lives and works in Seravezza, northern Tuscany with his partner Cynthia Sah, in an extraordinary pre-industrial building which was once an historic sawmill, where marble was cut for the very first time by water-powered machinery.

sculptor holding small triangular piece of marble up to rooflights

Nicolas Bertoux examines a piece of marble in the light, Seravezza

He was drawn to move to the area not because of the studios and artisans, but because of the quarries. He likens the search for raw material to buying your food at a farm instead of a supermarket. He wants to talk to the quarrymen and know the chain of production.

Nicolas Bertoux at La Fenice workshops, Pietrasanta, for his project Wind Tree, 2019, monumental sculpture for Taipei, Taiwan

Model of Wind Tree project

The Wind Tree project was due to be installed just as the pandemic hit so instead of installing the piece himself Nicolas had to box it very carefully, then guide people at the other end to erect it in his absence.

Nicolas Bertoux, Protesta (Yell), 2020

When Nicolas was approached by the coastguard, and forced to pay an administrative fine for a lack of paperwork, he and other sculptors created a work of protest – Protesta (Yell).

The Medici Palace of Seravezza, a Unesco World Heritage Site

Cynthia and Nicolas’ Artco workshops

Nicolas Bertoux and Cynthia Sah, outside their workshops, Seravezza

nicolasbertoux.it

instagram.com/bertouxnicolas

Find more about the Arkad Foundation

In the episode, Nicolas refers to:

  • The Italian sculptor Pietro Cascella, who created a memorial for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp which consists of blocks and columns on the site of the camp’s railway station. Pietro Cascella’s large work Memoria di Pietrasanta, 2001, represents oxen who pulled the marble down from the quarries, and stands opposite the town hall in Pietrasanta.
  • Gigi Guadagnucci (link in Italian) who was born in Castagnetola (Massa) in 1915 and worked in marble from a very young age. He distinguished himself by his ability to create funeral works without the use of models.

Credits

Sound edit and design: Guy Dowsett

Music credits: all courtesy of Audio Network

  • Time Weaver 2298/6, Dan Skinner, Adam Skinner
  • Blind Man’s Bluff 2959/1, Sam Wedgwood
  • Scallop Waltz 2 2879/29, Paul Ressel

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