Artist: Eli Cortiñas
Exhibition title: What about tropical delights in neoliberal times?
Corator: Omar-Pascual Castillo and Alejandro Vitaubet
Dates: 30.04.2015 to 09.08.2015
Place: CAAM – San Antonio Abad. Planta 3. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Coproduction: Cabildo de Gran Canaria and Gobierno de Canarias
Collaborate: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, MAC de Puerto Rico
All of Eli Cortiñas’ artistic work (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1976) rests on the idea of redefinition. Her video and collage works and her objects are the result of an exercise of appropriation of all sorts of materials: she uses film materials for her audiovisual pieces, press and news materials for her collages and everyday objects for her sculptures.
The use of found footage is the natural path for her creative processes: she turns it into her prevailing means of expression. Cortiñas works as the creator of a meccano set: she assembles pieces; she composes a music score and furnishes it with an essential unity, so that the final architecture represents her particular discourse.
The artist is a true connoisseur of the audiovisual language, the writing through images, the relevance that the first soviet cinema used to assign to montage and its expressive capabilities to create new meanings. She fragments shots, scenes, sequences; she plays with audiovisual space and time; she analyzes and deconstructs match cuts; she changes, repeats and includes sounds and dialogues. For this artist, any film material can be manipulated, cut up and regenerated into a different story, into something totally new.
Cortiñas’ audiovisual compositions blur any identification traits of the original footage by leaving the references aside. Although her works allude to films by distinguished authors of the sixties and seventies of the last century –such as Goddard, Truffaut, Cassavetes and Buñuel–, and the main characters of her works are Gena Rowlands and Geraldine Chaplin –among others–, the viewer can hardly recognize them all at first sight. Cortiñas removes the evidence so that the viewer is not bothered by interference and is set free to appreciate the new discourse. This way, her video work challenges the role of cinema as a generator of collective imaginaries. The globalized audiovisual memory is called into question when all references are erased and new ones are created, which have their roots in the subjectivity and the codes of the artist. This is what Jacques Aumont would have defined as visual Esperanto.
Cortiñas’ collage series follow the same modus operandi as her audiovisual works. Her creations are the result of selecting resources from written media or publications about specific themes, images taken from books on mechanics, anthropology, ethnology, etc. Figurative or abstract reconstructions that overlap on different levels reflect the urge to produce a new story. For her interpretation of the present, the artist resorts to bites of reality that she then juxtaposes; images that convey a temporally and linguistically mixed message, rich in interruptions, rifts, or something that Adorno managed to identify as discontinuity<.
For their part, the everyday elements that make up Cortiñas’ art objects are likewise deprived of their original reason of being and ultimate function. They are combined to form reliefs or sculptures, arranged in the hall as minimalistic works that allude to different historic avant-gardes. Nevertheless, whatever their sources and materials, Cortiñas’ works express constant biographic references loaded with subtle doses of humor. Social conventionalisms, different views on exile, the rigid structures of contemporary society or the stereotypes in the world of art are recurring themes in her work. All of this is encompassed in a point of view where women, with their different roles, are at the heart of the aesthetic discourse. Thus, their multiple features show us complex beings, subject to many-sided readings, which draw apart from the more social and militant approach offered by the art of second-wave feminism.