Carbon 12 presents the exhibition On a Boat, Looking to Land, a curated exhibition showing the new works of Gil Heitor Cortesão and Daniel Rich.
In their divergent ways, images of architecture pervade the work of both Gil Heitor Cortesão and Daniel Rich but image plagues the sensibility of architecture too. Building as ultimate signifier of a time and an ideology, the inescapable image of its time and function branded onto its physical DNA.
Gil Heitor Cortesão’s paintings are bustling with life. People, all be it from a different era, spilling from the picture plane, burning against the plexi on to which they are painted like ghosts seeping through the screen. The degraded image poignantly serving to remind us of a lived past. A nostalgia pervades the utopian possibilities. Daniel Rich’s paintings are not. There is no life to be found there. The paintings are flat and mechanically generated, surfaces as deliberately built as the built environments of their subject.
Both artists employ appropriated material, layered and filtered through these processes, lending the work a distance from the source that allows the isolated imagery to autonomously perform.
Like the buildings they depict, the paintings of Gil Heitor Cortesão and Daniel Rich hold in a duality the process of their own making and the allegorical intention of their own condition. If architecture can never be free from its self-imposed image, providing the signposts to where we are, then stood in front of the work of these artists we can perhaps determine that we are on disconcerting ground. There is solid form and there are ghosts. The emotional and the political. The built image and the projection. The paintings are as built as the buildings they describe but we cannot inhabit them. The paintings can only house the traces of what architecture can be. Images that we find and the ephemeral images buildings and their intrinsic conditions reflect beset us. They locate us in the way both architecture and images always do. But here in front of these works that simultaneously tell of exteriors enfettered to the ideology of their making and the nostalgic interior lives driven by optimistic humanity we are somewhere that locates us most accurately of all. Somewhere, amongst the ruins of an alternative future.