Untitled (abstract)

Born Tel Aviv, Israel 1936, arrived Australia 1956


Born in Israel, Asher Bilu studied music and played the violin as a child. Following his arrival in Australia, Bilu began painting and, despite his lack of formal training, established his reputation with two solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne in 1961 and 1962.

Bilu’s early paintings combined his understanding of music with a search for a symbolic representation of the cosmos, and his works characteristically included circular forms to represent universal rhythms. Paul Klee’s painting and writing were influential in Bilu’s development, particularly in his experimentation with materials and surface textures. Untitled (abstract) was painted in 1973, a pivotal year for Bilu’s practice during which the textured, accumulated paint on the surface of the work suggested the possibility of extending into three-dimensional space. The following year he produced his first works (Zone 1 and Zone 2) in which cut out sections of the painting projected beyond the picture plane. Bilu’s experimentation with spatial manipulation progressed further into the production of three dimensional objects and installations which he began during the late 1970s and continues to the present day.

In 1988 he was included in Images of Religion in Australian Painting 1942–1988, National Gallery of Victoria and in 2007, Earthly reflections of heavenly things, at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. Bilu’s work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne and several other major public collections.