“Since the early 80s, Roland Cognet has centred his sculpture around a reflection on materials, shapes, and the four fundamental essences – mineral, vegetal, animal, and human –, in line with the French and American representatives of Concrete Sculpture. He has since consistently worked on the confrontation between nature and sculpture with the same commitment to and uncompromising respect for these raw materials – whether poor or noble –, the same unsentimental sensuality in his technical approach, and the same mastery of drawing, whether working on preliminary sketches or the pieces themselves. “Each piece, each series is an innovation in his work method, modelling together indurated materials if need be – cement, plaster, resin. As such, his sculpture becomes a postural statement, a reinforcement of indoor space, measuring itself against the landscape by indexing its values or by glorifying it. And if the material is perishable, like wood, the artist addresses it through the language of gestures: cover, protect, mould, support, paint, prolong, hollow, treat, and even cauterise. And if the challenge seems impossible to take up, he props the mass up with a pole.”1
Roland Cognet’s work also shows invariable fascination for the object per se, for its immediate presence, its irrefutability, its heaviness, and its necessary detachment. The extent of Roland Cognet’s poetry lies in this particular interstice. The bronze head of a monkey, a gorilla, or a horse, standing on a pedestal like an antique bust, reveals each trace of the sculptor’s fingers; a resin tree trunk is balanced, seemingly weightless, on a wooden chopping block; a monumental yew with a cement crown – all variations on bases, scales, or materials which turn “copies” of reality into works of art.” […]
1 Excerpt from Frédéric Bouglé, “Sculpture possible et éloge d’atelier”, in the exhibition catalogue En fait, il faut peut-être chercher encore, Editions Le Creux de l’enfer, Thiers, 2012.
Excerpt from Caroline Perrin, Roland Cognet, son œuvre, Galerie Claire Gastaud, 2015.
Translated by Lucy Pons