Gowen Contemporary is delighted to present for the first time at the gallery a solo show by Swiss artist Claude Cortinovis. The exhibition brings together a selection of his photographs and works on paper from the last fteen years, describing his artistic practice, his rituals, his relationship to time and reality, his questioning of imagery and writing.
His subjects start with photographic images of mostly female portraits, self-portraits or landscapes. His images are expanded and veiled by either the color or the text, each one giving itself to be discovered and distinguished through the appropriate distance necessary to their understanding. Up close, the disconcerting pixellated grid is revealed; from afar, the appeasing shape of the body appears.
The viewing distance is essential in the work of Claude Cortinovis and so is the capture of time, of extended time, which is synonymous with patience. This long-term work, scientifically ordered, comes with the sweet taste of instants, which the artist will seek in the re ned details of the image, meticulously and slowly built up of tiny square elements.
The artist manually criss-crosses his paper with thousands of small squares, rigorously filled with different colors, using ink-coated stamps. The gestures are repeated and the work follows mathematical patterns predefined by the artist. The details emerge as a trace of an irreversible time and offer the artist a very orderly and precise hiding place. This self-imposed meticulous repetition, this constant discipline, allow him to transcend into timelessness the painful reality of an actual experience.
In the recent series, Nameless (2013-2017), Claude Cortinovis represents new compositions of anonymous female portraits in frontal views. These portraits of women, accidentally found in photo booths, present fragmented faces, as if the passing of time had erased their identity. Degradation weakens the image and makes it ephemeral. The more the sign disappears, the more it is in harmony with the desire to appeal to the resurrection of absence.