André Cottavoz

Forword by Frédéric DARD

« COTTAVOZ » – Catalogue Galerie Kriegel 1971 / ©Edition Sanbi 1991

Much more than to its creator, the work of a painter belongs to who appreciates. On
this basis, I’m proud of the work of Cottavoz as a production that would be personal
to me.
His paintings fills me by granting me this bliss of the mind, this festive look that
only art communicates when fully received. And I’m sure, my instinct telling me
so, I get totally Cottavoz. I speak fluent Cottavoz and I read it in the text with
His paintings are part of my life.
Over the years, they have become indispensable to me.
The light sprung from his clay hardly tossed dazzles me and warms me.
Cottavoz kneads the world with his big manly hands and wins, not at the limits of
abstraction, as claimed in his Larousse biography, but to the ones of concrete, far
more indecisive and dangerous after all. I mean that, starting from the concrete,
Cottavoz reinvents it after passing through the mysterious filters of abstract. Any
painting requires a certain distance of the beholder, as proximity destroys the
faculties of perception. It is the collapse of reality examined too closely. But the
works of Cottavoz escape this ruthless rule. Look at them at close range and you
will continue to “ascend” to the tormented slopes of this volcanic painting in three
dimensions. His paste is molten lava (which like the real lava, takes a long time to
dry), a sort of mineral tumult with meditated whims.
Up close, Cottavoz is purely abstract, as paradoxically becomes nature seen from
He “makes” painting.
A builder’s painting.
A master mason painting (he also painted with a trowel). A nobly peasant painting
that we carry away at the soles of our shoes as plowing loam.
For those who can dream, can shudder, it offers the wise wealth of a reality that the
artist has won by going to see in the depths of himself if he was there.
And he was there !

Rarely talent was most compelling, more obvious! One only needs to look to
But let me tell you the man …
He looks like his paintings, seems to have invented himself and realized a sketch of
what would be his work. Sublime rough with lunar bark, his face is the
foreshadowing of his art.
Cottavoz is well paced, tender and gruff, somewhat pathetic as is simplicity in its
purest form. A boy who is less worried to know if life has a meaning than to give a
meaning to his life. His workshop makes me think about a sort of lime kiln and I
am surprised not to see out a long grey chimney.
Portrait de Frédéric DARD
His huge circular pallet looks like some Saracen wheel fallen from the too much
ballasted chariot which brought him the raw material.
Admiration is an act of faith terribly exciting. I admire Cottavoz since his first
sketches and I followed his progress with more fervour than my own destiny.
I live “at paintings by Cottavoz”. These are intense presences that calm me and
stimulate me.
Yet, at regular intervals, the need takes me to go in his den to check if the artist is
true to the faith that I hold him.
I return to his work as one returns to his homeland, the heart embraced with a
heady anguish, wondering if it would have changed. Every time indeed, the work
moved, shifted. It took new branches.
It is even stronger, safer, and more formal than my previous visit.
I then feel like happiness.
I slowly review his paintings.
I contemplate them. I caress them. I listen to them.
And I try to get them to love me.


Frédéric DARD