Nicolas Deshayes's installations tap into a modern wipe-clean world,
designed to withstand sweat, food, shit or any other substance our
messy corporeality might leak or spew. This young artist is
interested in the surfaces of coffee-shop chains, fantasy kitchens,
architect's offices and public conveniences, and his work is made
from materials familiar from these very 21st-century phenomena:
plastic, laminated hardboard and buffed industrial sheets of metal.
Yet in spite of its slick appearance, Deshayes's work is always
ready to remind us of the human factor. In Public Work 1 & 2, a pair
of stainless steel wall sculptures could be a cool minimalist
creation but actually look just like a men's urinal, and bear clear
vinyl stickers in the shape of a gush of urine. There's a bodily
dimension too. He frequently uses vacuum-forming, the industrial
process used to mould everything from coffee cups to bus seats, but
his works are less easy to place than these everyday creations.
Deshayes's rippling forms could equally recall Zaha
Hadid's biomorphic architecture, discarded skin or, as in a
gleaming red panel from his recent Runner, toxic sludge and the kind
of bloody slop produced by a decimated vampire in hit TV show True
Born in 1983, Deshayes graduated from London's Royal College in 2009
and has since been making his mark on the art world, with work that
closes in on some very 21st-century fears and desires. A succinct
example of this is Supplement, where book-like sculptures are
mounted with his own photographic recreations of the
larger-than-life images found in magazine cookery pages, where food
is tinted, gelled and oiled to appear captivating, albeit inedible.
Playing on the conflict advertising evokes between our hunger for
the real thing and its eternal denial of reality, Deshayes's work is
a crisp indictment of consumer culture.
music and food