Tree House

Gil Heitor Cortesão

Tree House, 2020

Part of a new group of works focused on exterior landscapes, Tree House (2020) 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 nocturnal landscape, have been removed, shaping a semi-fictional environment the relation to the reality of which can be found through the gesture of resemblance.

The interlocking of nature and architecture is a common feature in the practice of Gil Heitor Cortesão. Depicting a nocturnal landscape with a large open-armed tree with a treehouse, the work is characteristic for its estrangement. Placed behind a wall, Cortesão opens his play of interior and exterior, inside and outside. The origin of the depicted place is unknown. The familiarity of its attributes, however, brings back memory, provoking a desire to remember. We are trapped by illusion, where the idea of representation as something static is put under scrutiny and instead portrayed as a liquid entity. The uncertainty of the event’s nature points to the shift in perception within the present digital age, where established categories such as truth and fiction and reality and artificiality have been rendered obsolete.

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.