“I wanted to make my work as simple as possible”, he says. “Like somebody painting an advertisement on a billboard in basic colours.”
It is exactly that physical aspect of Biltereyst’s wooden panels that distinguishes the original paintings from reproductions. “The small panels can fit on my scanner, so it’s easier to reproduce and archive my work.” This also enables him to rework certain elements on his computer. “When I’m not really happy with a painting, I start reworking it in Photoshop by putting a stripe higher or lower, for example. I keep on changing it until I’ve found the perfect composition.” Since last year, the artist has also been using larger formats, giving the work a new monumentality and his exhibitions more variation. Which is also the reason that lately he has been making temporary murals on the gallery walls as part of his exhibitions.
Unlike many abstract painters before him, Biltereyst does not want to create a new, autonomous world; rather, his work refers to the concrete reality he samples, disrupts, and crops, which originates in brands, logos, and other abstract fragments he sees in the urban realm – like a manhole cover, a fence, or a pattern on a truck. As a contemporary version of the 19th-century flaneur, he walks or drives through the city and photographs these graphic traces. “I archive them and then later rework some of them, until I find the perfect composition. A curved line on a logo on the side of a truck I see on the motorway, gives me a bigger kick than an abstract painting in a museum! To be honest, I am not so crazy about abstract art. I often find it too overworked and artificial. I’m more interested in a clumsy design by a local gardening shop with the wrong colour combinations and too much distance between the letters. I often find these kind of deviations much more inspiring than high art.”
Alain Biltereyst’s upcoming exhibitions at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York:
Attics of my Life, 30th Anniversary Show, 08 January – 05 February 2017 Solo exhibition, 20 April – May 2017