food in the arts


Deshayes, Nicolas/ ARTISTS 1900-present/ ART MAIN film and food
(b.1983, France.)

literature and food

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 Blood.

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
photography and food
Desayes - Culural Wood  
Cultural Wood, 2010