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Henni Alftan

Série noire

Viiskulma 3.10.-21.10.2012

Henni Alftan
Série noire
Galleria Huuto Viiskulma

I am fascinated by the appearance of pictures, in other words their connection to the object, material and technique that makes them visible. Because it seems that pictures appear in a mass of paint spontaneously, it’s tempting to paint as if looking at clouds. We have a natural need to interpret everything we see. Therefore we often see pictures in smudges or simple brush strokes. We are constantly giving a meaning to a world that doesn’t have one. Perception is worthless without an interpretation. In a way, our imagination is what connects us to reality. Sometimes my pictures are close to being abstract because I try to understand the mechanisms of recognition. I want to explore the boundaries of the representational nature of shapes.

I have always been more interested in an analytical approach to painting, instead of an intuitive one. Marcel Duchamp once wrote that a painting is the apparition of an appearance (l’apparition d’une apparence). My aim is to decipher different phenomena. My paintings don’t only focus on what they portray, but also on the techniques used as well as the art and history of painting. I try to make each piece a critical image of itself, of what it is. Therefore my brush strokes are not so much expressive, but rather carefully thought-out and mainly manneristic. The aim of mannerism was to reveal the means of art, to represent art, rather than portray an object.

The title of the exhibition and series, Série noire, is the same as that of Gallimard’s detective and mystery novel collection that also inspired the creation of the term film noir. Série noire is a series of paintings about what we don’t see in the picture. This invisibility or absence is more significant than the actual object that we don’t see. My paintings contain a reference to the iconography of films because films in particular use these narrative methods that often make us imagine that we see something that doesn’t actually exist. So-called hors champ is literally impossible in paintings because a painting is not an imprint of reality, but rather a constructed picture, which means that nothing is ever left out of the picture. There is nothing beyond the borders of a painting to be left out. Nonetheless, the narrative possibilities of hors champ in a painting remain all the same.

Henni Alftan (b. 1979) is a young Finnish artist based in Paris. She has graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de la Villa Arson in Nice and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Since then, her works have been regularly displayed in French galleries and non-commercial spaces as well as in other European countries.

The exhibition has been supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Alfred Kordelin Foundation and Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse.

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