The source of inspiration for Cecile Van Hanja’s work is the Modernist period at the beginning of the 20th Century. She is especially interested in the architecture of the Bauhaus and De Stijl schools as a reflection of order in a time of chaos.
Cecile van Hanja’s early childhood was spent in the South of France until at the age of 8 years old, she moved to the Netherlands. With this move, came a mixture of feelings; losing touch with her natural roots, a sense of alienation and her curiosity with the architecture of her newly adopted country, all of which she channeled into her painting
When working on a project she explores urban spaces through photography and architecture, and transforms those images into paintings, altering colour, light and atmosphere. One of the most striking characteristics of the paintings is their transparent, layered structure. 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 it does not become a static image of impenetrable walls. There is a painterly beauty formed by colour balance, rhythm and composition.
“I want to emphasize the immaterial aspect of a building by creating open spaces. In my paintings the images of modern architecture are based on a rhythmical pattern of verticals and horizontals in which an multi coloured labyrinth of spaces and look-throughs is created.