Cecile van Hanja - (Architectural Spaces) Paintings - Netherlands
About Cécile Van Hanja
Cécile van Hanja born in Corsica (1964) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) in 1993. Currently she lives and works in Haarlem (The Netherlands). She was selected by the La Napoule Art foundation for a artist in residence at the Château La Napoule in France and she obtain a 2 years grant from the BKVB foundation in Amsterdam. Her work is in different private collections in France, US, Switzerland and in the Netherlands. Her work is now represented by Galerie BMB in Amsterdam, (the Netherlands). About Cécile her work: In urban environments we are inundated daily with information and hectic impressions. Cécile van Hanja seeks a balance between this outer city life and her private world. In her studio she creates the tranquility she needs to be in direct contact with herself. Studio space is a recurring motif in her oeuvre, painting. It is a starting point and workplace, all at once: the occasion, site and dimension of her investigations. When she is working on a project she goes out into urban spaces, photographs architecture, and then transforms those images into paintings, altering color, light, and atmosphere. The large paintings of Cécile van Hanja shows architectural spaces where corridors, rooms, or staircases seem familiar, but cannot be placed in a specific site or certain time. She leaves the spaces remarkably empty so that it seems all context has been erased. The images are filled with emptiness. She is fascinated by the airless and lifeless neutrality of so many contemporary man-made spaces like empty airports, lobbies, and hotel rooms. Empty rooms, like those in office buildings, are biological homes for awhile and then we leave them. These anonymous environments generate suspense- the feeling that behind every door , around every corner, a possible threat awaits. Originally, she explored the habitat of these temporary homes, rendering the private world visible and accessible to outsiders. Recently, she has moved from the inside world to the façades, emphasizing architecture as a sort of alienation between people in our modern society, a society in which people do not know their neighbors, in which the architecture creates a sort of loneliness, a poverty of contact between people. Her work thus asks people to consider the politics of buildings and the responsibility of architects in creating these economic spaces
My earliest childhood I’ve spent in the South of France, a land where everything was different than in the Netherlands, the country I moved to when I was 8 years old. For a long time I felt trapped and was homesick for the unspoilt nature of the Mediterranean. This feeling of completely loosing my roots in an alien country was essential for my artistic calling. The artificial man-made structure of my new homeland became nevertheless also important in my later paintings. In a birds-eye view the Netherlands appears like a painting of the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. The same straight lines one can find in all of my compositions.
I believe that an artist always works from a biographical point of view. Themes like alienation, desolation, solitude and problems of adaptation are importent for me, because I’ve experienced them myself. It’s not the only layer in my work though. They are also an occasion for making a good painting.
My source of inspiration is the Modernism at the beginning of the 20th century. The architecture of of Bauhaus and De Stijl is for me a reflection of order in a time of chaos. Especially Mondrian as a pioneer in his strive for harmony and unity and architects like Mies van der Rohe and Waro Kishi who emphasise the immaterial aspect of a building by creating an open space. Besides the beauty of their creations, I’m also fascinated by the lost idealism of progress and malleability where this movement stood for. In my paintings however the modernistic constructions don’t encase hope anymore, the architecture has become a symbol of alienation and emptiness.
In my paintings the images of modern architecture are based on a rhythmical pattern of verticals and horizontals in which an uncertain world is created; a multi coloured labyrinth of spaces and look-throughs in which it’s not clear if one is inside or outside. The transparant walls and floors with reflections on the opposite walls don’t give any footing and the perspective lines and vanishing points, like rational benchmarks lead to an irrational and intuitive way of thinking. One can ask if we as an observer are part of this structure or excluded. In other words; can our private life be part of these anonymous structures?
The transparant layered structure of the painting intensifies the depth and the confusion. Thin layers of acrylic paint allow the colours underneath to shine through. It is not until the third or fourth layer that oil paint is added. It is precisely because of the thin transparent painting which leaves underlying layers of colours visible, that the architectural composition does not become a static image of impenetrable walls. The painted facade seems to consist of parts that come forward and recede. The window sections in between may reveal something of the interior, in vibrating light.
A lost modern world symbolising confusion and uncertainty that depict our time.
Cécile van Hanja
Selection of exhibitions:
2015 Mondriaanhuis Amersfoort
2014 M2 kunst ,37PK, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
2014 In Glorious Colour, Showdown Saatchi Art, Griffin Gallery, London
2013 "Urban Landscape" Gallery Wegert& Sadocco, The Netherlands
2012 "Vanishing point" ABC Architecture center, Haarlem, The Netherlands
2011 "Constructing Identity", De Vishal, Haarlem , The Netherlands
2011 UMC St. Radboud , Nijmegen The Netherlands
2010 "Perspectives", Gallery BMB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2010 SBK Gallery 56, Tilburg, The Netherlands
2010 " Highlights revue 2009", Gallery BMB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2010 'Global Village' an exhibition contemporary art from 6 continents, Grote kerk Alkmaar, The Netherlands.
2009 Gallery RC de Ruimte, IJmuiden, The Netherlands.
"Façades", ABC Archictecture Center, Haarlem, The Netherlands
University of the Arts, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam ,The Netherlands.
Graduated in 1993.
Mastersdegree visual Arts, graduated in 1989
French Literature, 1989-1991
'Modernist architecture in contemporary art'
Opening on sunday february 1st 2015
Publication Mildred magazine: http:/www.mildred.co/issue-76/arts-sake/cecile-van-hanja/ october 2014
'In Glorious Colour 'Showdown Saatchi Art, 20 March-18 April 2014
Griffin Gallery, London
Interview in ARTiculAction, Art review june 2014:
Carlos Reid, M.B.A., M.S. & M.O.T.
THE CARLOS REID GALLERY
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