Van Aelst has the keen ability to change the way we look at things in our everyday lives, from masking tape, to apples, chewed gum or old newspapers. With the aid of a sharp object, he turns a discarded cardboard box into a celestial constellation, and an apple into a globe.
In Van Aelst’s world, chromosomes are made from gummy worms, and sharks swim dangerously around a roll of blue painter’s tape. His quirky scenarios personify the objects he photographs, creating movement, action and recontextualization.
Often using the supermarket as inspiration, Van Aelst’s photographs also inspire us to relate everyday consumer products with social and political issues in our lives. He has photographed Wonderbread to address the multiple meanings of the term “white bread” in our culture, and Velveeta cheese with German pumpernickel to discuss pan-Atlantic politics.