Gil Heitor Cortesão aims to keep alive Utopian ideals from modernism, expressed through interior design and architecture. 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.
If I had a Magic Carpet (Green Room), 2016, depicts a luxurious private house, the architecture of which echoes neo-modernistic influences. The portrayed image is like much of Cotesão’s work, inspired by an appropriated and later post-produced photograph found in an architectural magazine. Through digital and analog postproduction methods, Cotesão alters the initial image, moving it away from a representation of reality to the depiction of an imaginary scenario. Random streaks and stains of paint, a natural part of the painterly process, are left behind as a memento of the medium, abstracting the image further away from life. By polluting the sleekness of the initial image, Cortesão emphasizes the opposition between the painting’s subject and the method by which it is painted. The play of interior and exterior, emphasized by the double frame and the large glass wall in the background of the painting, then blurs the borders between the painting and its outer space, creating a heightened sense of ambiguity in regards to the perception and reading of the work.