Adèle Hennion on Art, Identity, and Finding Connection Within Urban Spaces
Many people find inspiration by seeking out new experiences or traveling to new places. But can you find it in things that have always been familiar?
To French artist Adèle Hennion, novelty isn’t always the answer to quench the thirst for expression. The lockdown prompted her to stay in her hometown in Lille and work with what she had. It wasn’t such a challenge though — Hennion has a background in architecture, and she’s passionate about spaces, structures, and cities. All she had to do was look out her own window, and she’d instantly spot something worth creating.
But her Consecrea piece, ‘CIX - Urban Jungle III’, required a different approach. Unlike most of her metropolitan landscapes, this artwork is inspired by the natural world. “Contrary to my usual practices, I ventured a lot in the forest in order to escape a little,” Hennion told us.
Get ‘CIX - Urban Jungle III’ as premium framed wall art here.
[Note: The interview below contains minor edits for clarity.]
Tell us about yourself. How did art come into your life?
Art has come into my life through all my experiences. I think that everyone has art in themselves and that everyone has their own way of expressing what this inner universe gives them. And that’s what I find so beautiful about human beings — it is this uniqueness.
What does the creation process look like for you? How do you feel while you’re creating a piece, and after a piece is complete?
The creative process for me is a liberating process above all. When I create, I free myself from the many things that words or deeds cannot express. When I finish a piece and look at it, I remember everything I experienced in the week that I made it.
How have your two passions — architecture and art — influenced one another? How does your background in architecture make your art and creation process more special?
Architecture and art are two things intimately linked by their process of creation. I’ve never really seen them as two separate things. But I think that in my artworks, architecture [is found in the] creation of a place or a landscape, which produces emotions.
You said you like finding inspiration in your home, Lille. How would you describe this city? Why do you find it beautiful and meaningful?
My city is mostly, for me, a familiar place, and I think we each have that connection to a particular city. I exploit this familiar element to distort it, manipulate it, and play with this notion of familiarity.
Michelangelo said, “I have never felt salvation in nature. I love cities above all.” Why do you think some of us feel so alive with cities, when others feel so alienated? For you, what is it about urban living that brings out the extremes within us?
I think living in the city is experiencing something intense that is constantly in motion. The city has thousands of people’s routes that meet other thousands of people’s routes, and together, they form the most unique and inimitable landscape.
The city inspires me because its identity and what it is at every moment depends on the meeting between people, and that is something totally uncontrollable.
Do you think there is a unique spirituality that exists within city-living?
I think that when you live in the city you develop the capacity to adapt to a lot of things that escape you. I think it awakens a lot of meaning, and somehow, we develop a common identity.
Follow Adèle Hennion on Instagram here.