The practice of Gil Heitor Cortesão (1966) is characteristic for its ambiguity, an ambiguity towards the subjects it depicts, and the media in which its subjects are depicted. Making painting his principal medium, Cortesão applies a rare technique of painting oil on the back of a Plexiglas sheet. His paintings seduce with the sleekness of their surface, which conceals the texture of the oil paint, and deceives the viewer by resembling some of the key characteristics of photography.
Inspired by found, appropriated, and digitally modified imagery, the works of Cortesão are characteristic for their estrangement, allowing for the birth of a universe of their own, the nature of which questions traditional modes of painterly depiction and the permeance of an image in an increasingly digital world. Cortesão combines painterly precision with areas of abstraction, a result of intentional distortion and accidents during the painterly process, leading to the pollution and transformation of the initial and already digitally post-produced image. His painterly methods, on the one hand, emphasize the opposition between the painting’s subject and the modes of its execution, while on the other hand, obscure the boundaries between the subject’s interior and exterior, between depiction and representation.
The work of Gil Heitor Cortesão is included in the collection of Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Fundación Helga de Alvear, Caceres, Spain, Fundación ARCO, Madrid, Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, La Coruña, Spain, Museé d’Art Moderne Grand–Duc Jean, Mudam, Luxemburg, Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, Museu de Arte Contemporânea Armando Martins, Lisbon, Coleção Fundação de Serralves, Oporto, Portugal, Coleção António Cachola, Elvas, Portugal, Coleção Associação Industrial Portuguesa, Lisbon, EDP–Electricidade de Portugal, Lisbon, Coleção Arquipélago, Azores, Portugal, among other.