2015 JUL–DEC

Henni Alftan

Henni Alftan: The Opening / Le vernissage, 2014, oil on canvas.


Ever since she was a teenager, Henni Alftan knew she had to go abroad. She studied French extensively and as she turned 18, got accepted into the École Pilote Internationale d'Art et de Recherche de la Villa Arson in Nice. She has now spent nearly half of her life in France and developed there a distinct analytical style of painting.

Alftan is interested in the mimetic relation of paint as material and the image. She wants to discover the moment when the mere paint on canvas transforms into a resemblance of an object – when our gaze interprets and forms the mix of materials into an idea. Thus her paintings are as much about the painting itself as an object, as the object of the painting itself, cherishing the physical qualities of the painting, its history and objecthood.

Alftan’s brushstrokes are never improvised, but always made according to a thorough plan. She likes to think of this method of predetermined strokes as manneristic, in the sense of seeking to represent art itself and the artifice of the actual mark-making. Her works are often gestural and abstract, and study an aspect of painting such as lighting and how it creates meaning and reference.

Henni Alftan starts her 6-month artist-in-residence period at ISCP in July 2015, enabled by the collaboration between The Finnish Cultural Institute and the Alfred Kordelin foundation. During her stay she plans to work on a new series of paintings, drawing influence from American contemporary painters such as Jasper Johns and Dana Schutz.



Henni Alftan: Abracadabra, 2014, oil on canvas.