Gil Heitor Cortesão

Shadow, 2021

Part of a group of works focused on exterior landscapes, Shadow (2021) is a sequence of a smaller format painting defined by a heightened sense of ambiguity, and relation with temporality. Despite being rooted firmly in reality, in this case, inspired by an image depicting a building by Giuseppe Terragni, an Italian architect who worked primarily under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and pioneered the Italian modern architectural movement of Rationalism, the nature of its places, their location, or function remain concealed through the gesture of decontextualization, 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 original image, appropriated from the artist’s archive, have been removed, shaping a semi-fictional environment the relation to the reality of which can be found through the gesture of resemblance.

Painted in a sequence, the two paintings point to the passage of time. Its duration however is left unclear. While at first glance, time passes between sunrise and sunset, changing the luminosity of the paintings, additional architectural elements and compositional details prolong the temporal block between the two works into infinity, questioning the relation between one and the other. By appropriating principles of cinema and photography, namely that of illusion, through the movement between images, Cortesão creates a sense of uncertainty of what is being depicted, questioning the permanence of the image in an increasingly digital reality. 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.