Red carpet

Gil Heitor Cortesão

Red carpet, 2021

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.

Red Carpet, 2021, is derived from an existing modernistic interior – a post-produced image from the artist’s archive, characteristic of its geometry play. A white interior with protruding windows emphasize the verticality of the depicted image. While drawing the spectator’s eye upwards, Cortesão simultaneously disturbs the idea of a singular perspective by the vastness of a red carpet, the ornamental multiplicity of which distracts the eye, moving it back and forth the picture plane. The vertical and horizontal geometry of the painting is undermined further by the circular shape of the lamp emphasized by circular brushstrokes and abstract interventions into the surface of the painting. The supposed reality of the initial image has disappeared through the digital and painterly process of the work’s execution. Free of human presence, as if suspended in time, the work deceives its viewer, distancing the image from reality while placing it somewhere between truth and imagination.

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.