Nicolas Deshayes

Paris Rag (1), 2012

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Dimensions Variable


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Artwork
Description

carpet, polyester resin, string 117 x 19.5 x 3 cm

Paris is one of the few cities in the world where the potable water system is completely separate from the non-potable one. The system of non-potable water is used, among other purposes, for street cleaning. Even if it seems that the water simply flows down beneath the curb, the cleaners often use a piece of rolled up carpet to force the water into the gutter.

The existence of these rags has fascinated other artists, namely Lázló Moholy-Nagy and Steve McQueen, who, despite being separated by half a century, both photographed them. In 2012 Nicolas Deshayes re-created them, using carpets and polyester resin. What emerges from Deshayes’ work is that in spite of the human will to remove the filth within the organic, humanity itself makes it impossible.

Deshayes focuses on surfaces, with a particular attention to hygienic synthetic ones; but by creating texture his work becomes tactile and organic. Moreover, turning a domestic material like carpet into something rude and hard, no longer connected to the warm and soft environment of the house, but related to an outdoor use.

About
the artist

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.


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.

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.


Nicolas Deshayes
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

December 8th, 2014 until
February 25th, 2015
Curated by Kirsty Ogg