Part of a group of works focused on exterior landscapes, Drifting 1 (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.