Born in Corsica, Cecile van Hanja spent her childhood in France before moving to the Netherlands as a child. Inspired by Piet Mondrian, the De Stijl movement, as well as her newfound home in the Netherlands, van Hanja found her calling. By focusing on straight lines and the patterns found in architecture, van Hanja became interested in finding order in a time of chaos.
Van Hanja creates a rhythmical pattern of vertical and horizontal lines in her observation of architecture. A multi-colored labyrinth of overlapping planes are created in order to emphasize the immaterial aspect of a building. In juggling the ideas of irrationality and intuition, van Hanja is able to build depth in her works by layering thin layers of acrylic and oil paint. The multiple layers result in the underlying colors to be visible, and allows the architectural composition to not be static.
Her paintings are a response and reaction to mass media and culture–they are directly produced from her inner need to create order in a chaotic, globalized world. Van Hanja wishes to give space to the individual through unique and handmade work. In her paintings, van Hanja perceives the houses and buildings as metaphors for the state of mind. The absence of human presence, a quiet stillness, and an interest in light allows for a story to form.
Cecile van Hanja graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in 1993. She is currently based in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and her work is included in private collections in France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States.