We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting

Title

Corduroy

2020

Artist

Henni Alftan

Finland

1979 –

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Paris France
    Date
    2020
    Media category
    Painting
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    60.3 x 73.4 x 2.2 cm
    Credit
    Purchased with funds provided by Alberto Fis 2022
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    13.2022
    Copyright
    © Henni Alftan
    Artist information
    Henni Alftan

    Works in the collection

    1

    Share
  • About

    Henni Alftan’s witty and beguiling compositions concentrate our attention on specific details: a triangle of light reaching across the living room; rectangles of glowing windows in the city skyline; the repeated lines of corduroy trousers. Through sharp cropping and nuances of texture, she invites viewers not only to look closely but to feel what is being pictured. In ‘Corduroy’, the fuzzy fabric and its distortion as it stretches around a body, is made palpable through paint.

    By the standards of traditional formal portraiture, ‘Corduroy’ is a painting of a fragment. Think, by contrast, of the fine lace sleeves of the opulent gowns in portraits by Sargent or the sensuous folds of the cape in Velazquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X. Alftan chooses to paint the fabric and leave out almost everything else, omitting the additional information that would let us orient ourselves in relation to this sitter, their gender, and their demeanour. The result is at once a study in painted line and a deferred portrait, which makes us wonder who we are seeing while also proposing that partial knowledge, framed and contained in a painting, can itself be perfectly satisfying.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Paris