Eli Cortiñas.

*1976 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, ESP

in Germany since 1995 , lives and works in Berlin

2003 - 2008 Kunsthochschule für Medien, Cologne (Prof. Matthias Müller und Prof. Marcel Odenbach)

2001-2002  European Film College, DEN


Exhibitions [Selection]:

2012 Neither glance nor glory, Galerie Soy Capitán, Berlin

III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Moscow , RUS

2011 Les Rencontres Internationales, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FRA
Street Girls Bringing Sailors In Must Pay In Advance, Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer, Cologne

2010 The excitement of ownership, Galerie Waldburger, Brussels, BEL




Confessions with an open curtain

Date: 2011
Length: 05:25 min.
Format: 4:3
Specifications: Colour, Sound, Single Channel
Courtesy the artist, Soy Capitán, Berlin and Waldburger, Brussels



We see a woman from behind. Off-screen a woman’s voice says: “When was it? How long? It seems a lifetime ago.” A second woman replies: “Why don't you start at the beginning?”. Cut. In the next scene a camera tracks over the cushions on a couch, to the accompaniment of Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I do?” Cut. A blue-grey curtain is drawn and a woman’s voice says: “Let me tell you what I said when she was born.” The picture changes to a light blue curtain. The woman continues: “Alright I said. I'm glad it's a girl and I hope she'll be a little fool. It's the best thing a girl can be in this world - A beautiful little fool.” The camera repeatedly scans over the women’s backs and the gently billowing curtains. Their facelessness makes the characters seem to merge into a single person.

The initial shots make it clear that this collage-like work with its audio-visual snippets make no attempt to have a plot in the filmic sense. The expectations of a normal cinema goer are sorely tried, but are, in the end, systematically guided  towards a filmic message. In her collage of found-footage, Cortiñas achieves a precise consideration of the clichés in films which present a certain image of women.

Till Fabian Bender





► 1. Your work has been chosen among over 2000 festival entries to participate in VIDEONALE.14. In which context do you prefer to present your work, festival/cinema context or exhibition? And what kind of difference does the respective mode of presentation mean for you / your work?


It depends on the video work itself. I do see my work as a constant exploration of the cinema language, its structure and the historicity and the popular culture, which is reflecting, but all my videos are mostly conceived as multi channel video loops with no particular beginning or ending. Some of them have a sculptural quality to them and need certain architecture as a body device to function. So, yes I prefer the exhibition situation because I don't follow a linear dramaturgy in the classic sense of story telling and I also want the viewer to be able to “jump” into the work at any time and be immediately thrown into the emotional engine of the scenery and the work.
I do have some works though, that have a more linear quality to them in terms of narration, or simply because they are single channel videos and I have experienced screenings in cinemas and festivals, that do work very well for them. Giving them a more concentrated audience, as it usually is in the classic cinema experience.



► 2. Art can be seen as a mirror that registers and reflects life or as a tool that transforms it. Is there a particular theme, concept or problem your art addresses the most?


I am very interested in exploring rules of behavior in society; my work often deals with the definition of the female within certain constructions like family hierarchy, culture, religion, political devices and even the art world.
Underneath my investigation also lies a fascination with the mere representation of one medium into another.



► 3. In which way is the video medium an excellent possibility to express your intended subjects, especially in contrast to other media you use? Or do you work exclusively with video?


I see myself as a found footage artist who works mainly with video but also intensely with collage and sculptural forms and I see an immediate relationship between all these practices.
I have been strongly influenced by film and music, so a lot of my imagery comes from that source. I have a special predilection for the time period around the 60s/70s and the visual vocabulary from that film period, but also for currencies like the Italian Neo-Realism. I'm also very fond of sculpture and the space and the questions around the display and set up play a very important role while developing any of the works I do, regardless the medium I'm working on. In my practice it is always definitely about setting up a new context while taking away the original one a picture, an object or a moving image was originally in. Almost everything what comes into my hands has the initial potential to be re-written by erasing it's original purpose or source and to be charged with a new meaning or subject I would like to address. That's the amazing power of any kind of appropriation.