Eli Cortiñas • Neither Glance Nor Glory • 06.09.–27.10.2012
Neither Glance Nor Glory is Eli Cortiñas’ first exhibition at Soy Capitán. The central work in the exhibition is the video Perfidia, which is based on Luis Buñuel’s 1972 film The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Buñuel spent his life concerned with representing high society, something on which he placed a „best before“ date. He was unswerving in his attempts to exposethe decadence of their perfidious intent to enrich themselves at the cost of others.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is about six members of the bourgeoisie – two rich French married couples, a young woman and the corrupt Ambassador of Miranda, a fictitious Latin American country – who plan a stylish yet intimate dinner. The dinner, however, is postponed again and again due to constant incidents and misunderstandings. The guests come on the wrong day, for instance, or the hosts just have to sleep with each other right now, leaving their guests to wait in vain for twenty minutes before they depart, mystified.
Cortiñas references a single scene of the original film, in which the group is taken out of its usual habitat and placed in a rural setting. Mute and without a clearly defined destination, they walk along a country lane like a foreign species.
Cortiñas‘ appropriation – which, in an extreme reduction, concentrates precisely these elements into a two-minute montage loop – creates with ist repetitive rhythm a hypnotic drag that thwarts the absurdity of the scenery and the seemingly artificial composition of the images. The artist, with a decided radicalism in her use of materials, creates a work that transcends time. The frugality of the arc of suspense within her micro mise-en-scène lends even small gestures such as simply tying a shoelace an overemphasis and great suspense. Whereas Cortiñas‘ previous video work has switched between English, French and Spanish, in this instance she has categorically rejected language, which makes the work universal and transferable.
As her usual practice, the titles of her works are the result of a well thought-out process. The title Perfidia can be traced back both to a famous Bolero song and to the word perfidy, with its connotations of base deception in a military confrontation, such as the use of camouflage and misinformation and trapping the opponent by pretending to surrender. The artist creates a bridge to the bourgeoisie or, rather, to heedless assertion of one‘s own advantage to the detriment of the common good.
In her collages and object arrangements, too, Cortiñas creates an ambiguous and affirmative transparency for the projection of constructed outlooks of the emotional, ideological, cultic and banal role plays of a generation vaunted in the media as ‘lost’.
Great Thoughts On A Lost Generation, an assemblage of collage elements, metal rods, a found wooden object and balloons, gives us, like Hanging Balls While Climbing Up The Social Ladder, examples of the playful and post-surreal interaction with reflections and materials of every origin, which the artist charges either scantly and directly, or obscurely.