Bertrand Peyrot's rusty art with timeless qualities

Bertrand Peyrot’s rusty art with timeless qualities

Dec 18, 2012 |  by  |  Art
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Thomas (25) is a recently graduated art historian with a passion for modern and contemporary art. He loves writing about interesting artists and unexplored art spaces, so if you are or know one, don't hesitate to get into contact with him.

It’s a stubborn misconception that today’s artists are somehow less qualified craftsmen than their famous predecessors. The nicest way to refute this mistaken idea, is to prove by example that many contemporary artists do develop outstanding artistic skills and produce beautiful works of art. Works like that of young Parisian artist Bertrand Peyrot, whose rusty portraits of both male and female figures are currently on view at No Man’s Art Gallery.

Installation shot of the exhibition by Bertrand Peyrot.

Peyrot’s method consists of applying water to specially prepared plates of iron, which are then left to rust. Over the course of several months, negative images of human figures emerge from the rust in various shades of brown and orange. To complete this carefully controlled process, Peyrot applies a varnish to the surface of the iron, which stops the rusting process and preserves his depictions of human bodies for all to see.

Peyrot seems willing and able to tackle grand themes like beauty, vanity and ultimately human mortality.

Original though it may be, it’s not just this intricate artistic method that makes Peyrot’s work so interesting. It’s also his subtle use of the brown and orange hues we usually associate with deterioration, urban neglect and ugliness, to produce beautiful and slightly melancholic images with a certain timeless quality. His men and women seem unaware of our presence; eyes averted, bodies strained in classic poses suggesting what; bliss? Agony? Both? Whichever, Peyrot remains undaunted in the face of artistic tradition, and seems both willing and able to tackle grand themes like beauty, vanity and ultimately human mortality.

Installation shot of the exhibition by Bertrand Peyrot.

Now, you might think that such themes are a bit out of this world, that they’re out of touch with the here and now, so to say. But that’s precisely what makes Peyrot’s work so captivating. It’s exactly this ambition to transcend the everyday that makes it a joy to experience Peyrot’s works first hand. So if you like what you see in these pictures, go and visit No Man’s Art Gallery in person. And be sure to check out the result of the Slum Photography Contest in the gallery’s basement if you do – it’s a real gem in its own right!

Exhibition: Bertrand Peyrot

When: December 6th – December 30th 2012
Where: No Man’s Art Gallery, Plantage Muidergracht, to the left of number 4.
Admission: Free of charge
More info: No Man’s Art website

Photos by Emmelie Koster, courtesy of No Man’s Art Gallery

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