In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents in monthly rotation current video works by international artists – selected by Inke Arns.
Eli Cortiñas: Walls Have Feelings
HMKV Video of the Month
01–28 February 2022
In Walls Have Feelings, Cortiñas delves into the ecology of objects and their appearance. The video opens onto the microcosm of dictators’ offices, presenting their architecture and interiors. Newly-filmed scenes alternate with close-ups and landscapes views from sourced images and found footage, gradually unveiling the protagonists of the film: office rooms and walls, which contain, hide and reinforce invisible forms of power. Powers, which stemmed from industrial capitalism and political dictatorships, and which in turn influenced the current neoliberal-type of economic production. The film references labour activities, echoing both present and past, corporeal and cognitive, forms of exploitation. It mixes familiar scenes of workers leaving the factory, laboratories producing all-too-human robots, and the works of artists themselves, which all together creates a navigable, hypnotic loop. Cortiñas evokes the object‘s animist power, delving into something that is embedded in them – as the title reminds us. The video becomes an open archive in process, which not only speaks of political powers and their resulting oppression. It also processes the very aesthetic through which these powers operate. ‘The ethnic cleansing of history has become a standard procedure’ (…) ‘silencing the past has become a standard procedure’, states Cortiñas. By displaying lost and invisible events, through reworked images, she digs into visual memory, testing both cultural and cinematic memory itself. (Giulia Civardi, 2019)
Idea, realisation and montage: Eli Cortiñas
Sound design: Angel Cortiñas Hidalgo
Voice artist: Marcy Mendelson
Commissioned by Kunsthaus NRW Kornelimünster
Funded by die Fundación Botín
About the artist
Eli Cortiñas is a video artist of Cuban descent, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1979. She was a guest professor at the Art Academy Kassel, at the Art Academy Mainz and a lecturer at the Summer Academy in Salzburg. She is currently sharing a professorship for Spatial Concepts with Prof. Candice Breitz at the University of Art Braunschweig. Cortiñas has been awarded numerous grants and residencies, including Fundación Botín Grant, Kunstfonds, Villa Massimo, Berlin Senate Film/Video Grant, Villa Sträuli, Goethe Institute, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Rupert and Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff among others. Her artistic practice can be located within the appropriation tradition, using already existing audio-visual material to de- and re-construct identities as well as narratives according to new discourses. Her collage-like video essays and installations mix found imagery with documentary strategies. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at museums such as Museum Ludwig, Pinakothek der Moderne, Kunsthalle Budapest, CAC Vilnius, SCHIRN Kunsthalle, SAVVY Contemporary, Museum Marta Herford, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Centre Pompidou, Museum of Modern Art Moscow, Kunstmuseum Bonn and MUSAC et al., as well as in international Biennials and festivals such as Riga Biennial, Ural Industrial Biennial, Moscow International Biennial for Young Art, Mardin Biennial, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, International Curtas Vila Do Conde and Nashville Film Festival among others. Cortiñas lives and works in Berlin.
01–28 February 2022
Walls Have Feelings
Video, 2019, 13:10 min