Gil Heitor Cortesão

Locus, 2021

Part of a new group of works focused on exterior landscapes, Locus (2021) is defined by a heightened sense of ambiguity. Despite being rooted firmly in reality, in this case, appropriated from the image archive of the artist, the nature of its place remains concealed through fragmentation, time, and digital manipulation. Employing digital postproduction, followed by a painterly process of applying oil paint on the reverse side of a plexiglass sheet, many of the attributes of the so-called original image, in this case, a Mediterranean landscape, have been removed, shaping a semifictional environment the relation to the reality of which can be found through the gesture of resemblance.

Characteristic for its estrangement, achieved by fragmentation, where an image of a sublime landscape is divided into a polyptych of nine units, the shiny and reflecting surface of which reminds of a set of TV monitors, the work generates a heightened sense of discontinuity between what is being depicted and its final representation. The idea of discontinuity is furthered by the work’s title, suggestive of place (Locus), a specific location determined by geographical indicators and familiar to one’s memory. Instead, the work suggests memories absence, of total amnesia, where the feeling of familiarity provokes a desire to remember, followed however by repeated failure. As we go up the path of the image and approach an old shed disguised by a vast tree trunk of a grown tree, juxtaposed against an unknown landscape, we are trapped by illusion, where the idea of representation as something static is put under scrutiny and instead portrayed as a liquid entity where the formation of subjects is subject to continuous change.

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.