Nicolas Deshayes (b. 1983, Nancy, France) lives and works in London. He received a BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design before completing an MA in Sculpture at The Royal College of Art.
Deshayes creates abstractions exploring the dichotomy between the sterility of modern syntheticism and the innate chthonian dirt of the organic. His post-minimalist works combine raw tactility with the artificial materiality that constitutes a discourse centred upon humanity’s enterprising desire to escape nature, an important theme throughout history.
One of Nicolas Deshayes' areas of focus is surface, with specific emphasis on the hygiene-friendly synthetic superficiality of the Dettol-generation. He utilises a wide variety of substances including neoprene foam, vacuum formed plastic and even public amenity panelling. His practice also concentrates on creating a texture, evocative of static fluidity; it is discretely organic providing an inescapable human presence. This theme is integral to his work, emphasising the chaotic nature of humanity, which is only ever truly ordered, in the physical products of one’s creative processes. Part of this process involves the technological advancement of materials that is encapsulated within his compositions. The vacuum formed plastic is the product of an automated process, which produces a strangely organic product, while the neoprene foam is similarly artificial yet tactile, creating a paradoxical synthetic naturality.
Contained within these structures is an inference of dirt, a hint at scatology, evidenced by the presence of readymade public amenity restroom panelling. This provides a direct, almost Freudian, link to the primordial filth humans evolved from. The preoccupation with wipe-clean surfaces also suggests a basic desire to escape one’s origin, to ultimately shake off the organic and coalesce fully with technology. Yet, the works with organic texture represent that impossibility, ultimately speaking about the dialectical nature of humanity; the Icarian struggle to escape earth, while constantly being tethered and limited by natural forces.