Artist research: Henny Acloque

Updated on 17 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

18 October 2016. What a contrast to the work by Freya Douglas, which I looked at in my previous post. Henny Acloque (*1979, UK) works mainly on small scale formats and with her own symbolism superimposed on carefully altered background paintings taken from the old masters. To me the foreground added by her, the choice of colours and shapes, appear to mirror in a way, and enter into communication with, the layers of the background painting underneath. The Ceri Hand Gallery (n.d.) describes this as follows: “Eliminating all figurative elements from the original source material, Acloque enforces her own codes and systems to re-introduce ‘characters’ to the frozen worlds she paints.” In her recent paintings (Acloque, 2010-2016) this approach gained a new intensity by her dividing up the now larger-sized canvas into parallel strips and jigsaw-like round elements, all of which cause a tumultous chaos in my head. To explain this effect, I have to refer again to the workings of my own brain. I am bad at filtering information at the best of times (hence my partly “photographic” memory). On many occasions the sheer mass of everyday visual and auditory input feels overwhelming and I have always been trying to avoid such overload. This is probably why I tend to choose a more quiet style of telling my complex stories. Since regrettably I was unable to find background information on Acloque’s reasons for choosing this particular approach, I thought it would be interesting to speak to artists who work in such ways in order to get a firsthand account on why they do what they do, especially how they go about processing such a large volume of information in one painting and also to viewers to find out how they feel about looking at such works of art.

Again I am happy for my tutor to have suggested to have a look at a particular artist who at first glance has little to do with what I (want to) do. I appreciate now that what I learn by doing research of this kind is much more about myself than anything else.


Ceri Hand Gallery (n.d.) Henny Acloque [online]. Ceri Hand Gallery, London. Available at: [Accessed 18 October 2016]

Acloque, H. (2010-2016) Paintings [image collection] [online]. Henny Acloque, London. Available at: [Accessed 18 October 2016]