When you look at a painting by Guillaume Bottazzi, the first things you notice are the mysterious, moving forms. The shapes, bulbous and elastic, appear to float and expand in space. The imbalance between their soft lightness and dense mass and the deliberately skewed composition give rise to an uncanny atmosphere. What at first glance seems to have been painted with a freewheeling hand has actually been rendered with an exacting and exquisite rhythm.

G.Bottazzi’s unique use of strong colors and light and shadow gives one the strange sense that the picture plane is warped or slanted. In one new work, for example, a yellow hemisphere sports an irregular array of smaller half-spheres. The false shading applied to the large hemisphere fosters the illusion of light coming from all directions at once. The incongruity he creates by destroying balance on purpose gives birth to a defiant energy. Moreover, the soft warmth suffusing the images is engendered by a palette that seems to seal in and muffle light. Up close, you are surprised to discover that G.Bottazzi uses classical oil painting technique, where a diligent and repeated layering of paint results in a shining surface.

G.Bottazzi decided to become an artist in his teens and left his native France for Italy, where he was deeply influenced by Italian painting. Since then, he has continued to make his art while traveling around the world. The artist is now thirty-five and the delicate painterly texture and gradation in his present work are the fruits of long years of cultivation. His obsession with his materials is complete; he uses only the finest paints, canvas, and extremely soft brushes to carefully create one work after the other. The thickly applied paint that gives massivity to his early works threatens to overflow the borders of his forms and freezes them within the picture plane. His newer works offer a more delicate and refined impression. This may be a reflection of the strong impact traditional Japanese art had on G.Bottazzi during a recent visit here. Nonetheless, the garrulity of his early canvasses seems to have been replaced by a growing sharpness.

As G.Bottazzi becomes more interested in abstraction, his inexhaustible and boundless ideas continue to push the frontiers. Painters of abstract art at the beginning of the 20th century experimented with a host of expressive styles; G.Bottazzi distances himself from this tactic and instead using the classical technique of oil painting seeks a fresh approach that fits in no genre. Confronted with some singular piece of art, many of us may wonder what exactly it is we are seeing. A moment later, we have the curious sense of being asked just how we are interpreting the picture in front of us. The sensual, sometimes even figurative elements of the painting lead the viewer to a misleading sense of comfort, almost to a sense of reality. The object of the painting is never too far away; one can almost touch it. But before long one is engulfed by another corner of the canvas, a compositional shift, another awakening of the senses. Conflicting sensations leave the viewer with no choice but to recompose and reshuffle his or her perceptions. In the midst of such shifts, a joyful individual “re-creative” abstraction occurs. The work itself is the collection of these individual re-creations and re-compositions. As such it is fundamentally open-ended.

One’s view of a work depends, of course, on one’s understanding, but G.Bottazzi’s work has the power to lead us beyond the mere quest for interpretation. It possesses the underlying power to force the viewer to unconsciously reevaluate his or her notion of the abstract which is originally defined as “the extraction of specific characteristics and attributes. “His art is both a means for us to question conventional ideas of abstraction and a mode of expression that transcends this question. It appeals to the senses sometimes using figurative elements, but the plurality of the conflicting elements in the images invariably tempts the individual viewer to make his own personal and free re-creation. It is none other than G.Bottazzi’s new, dynamic vision of abstract art.

Y. Takaishi

Guillaume Bottazzi

Official website of Guillaume Bottazzi, visual artist.
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Those who wish to copy images can contact: ADAGP – © Guillaume Bottazzi