Drifting 2

Gil Heitor Cortesão

Drifting 2, 2021

Part of a group of works focused on exterior landscapes, Drifting 2 (2021) is defined by a heightened sense of ambiguity. Despite being rooted firmly in reality and appropriated from the image archive of the artist, the image, depicts a reproduction of an image from a book, the image of which has been ripped and manually readjusted. In contrast to other Cortesão’s works that were captured and isolated by the eye of a camera and related thus directly to the actual place of depiction, the relation of Drifting 1 remains looser, multiplying the void between reality and its so-called representation. The ambiguity of the image is furthered by the position of the image, which has been placed upside down, creating a sense of mirroring, and a play of verticality within the otherwise horizontal picture-plane, generating a heightened sense of uncertainty of what, and from where is being seen.

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, an anonymous 21century cityscape, have been removed. The painterly manner suggests movement and speed as if being captured from the window of a passing train or a moving vehicle. Moreover, by appropriating principles of cinema and photography, namely that of illusion, through movement, Cortesão creates a sense of temporality and continuation between works resembling a sequence of cinematic frames. The pointillistic manner then disrupts the sleekness of the contemporary urban context, creating a sense of discontinuity between the subject and the manner of its depiction. Characteristic for its estrangement, these enclosed yet drifting worlds allow for the birth of a universe of its own, the nature of which questions traditional modes of painterly depiction and the permeance of an image in an increasingly digital world.

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.