Eli Cortiñas
Born in 1976 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain).
Lives in Berlin (Germany).
Confessions with an open curtain, 2011
Single channel video, 5:25 min.
Courtesy of the artist, Soy Capitán, Berlin and Waldburger Wouters, Brussels
If in a Catholic church the sacrament of penance takes place in a confessional behind closed curtains, then the name of this work, "Confessions with an open curtain", seemingly promises the viewer that here nothing will be concealed. Indeed, throughout the whole film we can hear female voices backstage confessing, and the repeated motif of a female figure is always clearly seen in front of a closed curtain (incidentally, men are hidden behind the curtain, but they are only in the film twice and very briefly). The female figure is always portrayed from the back, we never get to see her face, which makes her an anonymous embodiment of femininity. Often we see her looking through a window, turning to the infinity on the other side of it, frozen in a lingering wait for the unknown. Her emotional state changes, we see her in despair or in sadness, but also in wild liberation and exaltation. This lack of emotional stability prescribed to women in combination with the forces of nature can be dangerous. Hence the male presence, in the very end of the film, is portrayed with another peculiar motif – a hairy male hand hanging lifeless from a hospital bed. Many of the themes of the film were borrowed by the artist from the tradition of romanticism – the enigmatic woman, the demonic woman, the war of the sexes and the search for the sublime. Moreover, the fabric of imagery in this work is borrowed as well, taken from various film fragments and quotes. However Cortiñas, unlike Tracey Moffatt, the author of the film "Love", references exact film fragments without striving to deconstruct the language of cinema and reduce it to a set of clichés and stereotypes. By borrowing established images she does not perceive them as cliché, but as ample cultural mythologemes. Therefore, to avoid trivializing them she refrains from grouping them in iconographic and thematic units, on the contrary, she spreads them through the film, playing on their clashes and repetitions. One of these repeating motifs is the curtain – a stage curtain that traditionally represents the partition between reality and imagination. Once the drapes open the audience accepts and trusts the conventions of the stage, never forgetting, however, that it is dealing with a theatrical illusion. Similarly the cinematic quoting of Cortiñas is undisguised fiction that never ceases to excite us with its unfulfilled mystery.

artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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