Transcending Functionality through Art
Alain Biltereyst, born in 1965 and currently residing in Brussels, is an artist whose work is a testament to the capacity of everyday designs to transcend their practicality. Operating primarily on thick panels, Biltereyst’s work studies the layering and repetition of colours, shapes, and motifs, often derived from mundane objects like utility hole covers, fences, or aeroplane tail logos. He takes what others might consider trivial visual elements of our urban landscape and elevates them to fine art.
Between Precious Object and Design Canon
The balance in Biltereyst’s work lies in how he oscillates between the precious and the commonplace. The artist takes elements from advertising and design, then tweaks colours and isolates forms, crafting works that operate at the intersection between treasured objects and fragments of the design canon. The outcome is a series of tile-like panels and more significant works that invite the viewer to see the beauty in the everyday. His technique of over-painting on carefully chosen scales draws viewers into a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Exhibition Highlights: A Global Presence
Alain Biltereyst’s exhibition history is as diverse and expansive as his artistic vision. From “Leaving the House” at Jack Hanley Gallery to “Collected Stories” at Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Salzburg-Vienna, his work has been showcased around the globe. His participation in group exhibitions like “Form Follows Function?” at Art Center Hugo Voeten and “The B&W Project #5” at Transmitter, Brooklyn, further testifies to his contributions to the evolving dialogue in contemporary art and design.
A Circular Journey from Pop Culture to Fine Art
Biltereyst’s interest in the urban visual language, particularly in commercial signage, typography, and logos, allows him to craft works that are both referential and innovative. He doesn’t just celebrate the designs of yesteryears; he brings them full circle. His abstractions are not just shapes devoid of context. They emerge from a twisted, turned, and shifted world, where three-dimensional constructions, richly embedded in a historical and cultural milieu, may unexpectedly surface.
Final Thoughts: The Elevated Ordinary
Alain Biltereyst succeeds in cataloguing his world while also paying homage to earlier historical abstractions. His work exemplifies the remarkable capacity of simple, practical designs to become something far more potent and enduring. It is through artists like Biltereyst that we are reminded to find beauty in the world that surrounds us, both in the historically significant and the day-to-day.
“Alain Biltereyst,” Jack Hanley Gallery, accessed October 27, 2023, Jack Hanley Gallery.
“Alain Biltereyst,” Baronian Gallery, accessed October 27, 2023, Baronian Gallery.