Disjointed figures laze in the afternoon sun and recline bikini clad as they accept drinks from fully dressed figures. We re-live the heyday of 1950’s Americana.
Carbon 12 is proud to present Gil Heitor Cortesão’s third solo exhibition, Out Of Season. The new paintings of Cortesão maintain the aqueous dimensions and his signature corrosion of subject and image present in his past works, but the decay is deeper this season.
Cortesao’s figures were once wraiths in the background, the figures now stand boldly in their corporal domination of the scenes. They are the vision of decay and the subject of undulating plains of existence. Like water, the figures endlessly move within their form, never fully contained or still.
Ideas of the uncanny- the everyday in a strange, off putting and sometimes mysterious- way makes us look at the panels closely. At first,2 one at a time and then altogether in an attempt to put together some psychological puzzle that is just outside of comprehension. We are presented with a known scene, albeit maybe you or I have never lived it, but we understand the tableau through a collective unconscious thanks to global commercialism and advertising. Yet the picturesque moments and the people are decomposing. As photorealistic and precise as Cortesão is with brush in hand he smears, drips, and masks the pristine image underneath. The edges are fraying and people are cut in two as an ominous air begins to envelop the work and we are left with an atmosphere of the end of time.
Questions of the status of the image, but also of the fabricated memory are challenged. This never really was a status quo or “real”, yet “I am nostalgic for a moment that I have never lived”. His representations are on the edge of decomposition, as if it were no longer possible to extract anything else from them other than the sight of their implosion.
Cortesão choice to paint onto acrylic, a transparent material often used as a substitute for glass, creates a layer of liquid dimension and separation from his works. The painting that the spectator sees is an image on the other side of the acrylic. The surface we look at has never been touched by the artist; we are on the outside looking in. Much like a window each panel provides, us, the voyeur, with a coveted chance to see someone else while remaining unseen ourselves.
Each image is a snapshot, an alternative existence , fading away into time.
Born in 1967 in Portugal, Gil Heitor Cortesaõ is an established international artist living in Lisbon. He draws his inspiration from old photographs, magazines and postcards from the 1950’s and 60’s. The original conception for his paintings starts with a found image and slowly evolves from there. The image could be used promptly or found again only after years have passed.
Cortesao has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries worldwide. His works can be found in numerous permanent collections including; MUDAM in Luxembourg, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, The ARCO Foundation in Madrid, and Pedro Barrie de la Maza Foundation in La Coruña, Spain, amongst many others.