Nicolas Deshayes

Public Material, 2011

Public amenity panelling, vacuum formed plastic, aluminium, neoprene foam

255 × 30 × 230 cm


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Artwork
Description

Public amenity panelling, vacuum formed plastic, aluminium, neoprene foam, 255 x 230 x 30 cm

Nicholas Deshayes’ work takes materiality as a figurative locus for a discussion surrounding interactions between humanity and syntheticism. This multi-panel work, composed of a mixture of ready-made and handcrafted materials, explores the intrinsic human fear of microorganisms, dirt and the innate shame of human existence. It contains layers of fetishism embedded in consumer-capitalism, mass production and a Freudian sense of scatology. Public Material examines the social-constructs that increase the distance between humanity and the primordial filth, from which it crawled.

Its compositional elements of public amenity panelling, vacuum formed plastic, aluminium, and neoprene foam are immediately synthetic and sterile. However, Deshayes transmutes the manifest and creates a connotative narrative. The methodology of vacuum forming, which is applied to the plastic, provides a visceral tactility, instantly organically epidermic. This biological element protrudes from the canvas as an inescapable reference to human presence. The process of production is also evocative of the food-packaging industry, which smothers hunks of meat, fish and vegetable matter in a synthetic skin, bequeathing upon it an unnaturally long existence and expressing the fundamental relationship between the organic and the man-made. The title, Public Material, is emblematic of Deshayes’ practice and oeuvre; there is an emphasis on the presence of humanity placed in conflict with the products of it’s labour. The materials are not simply independent entities but are embedded into human interaction.

A scatological narrative runs through the work, as the public amenity panelling exists as a wipe clean surface – forming the four walls of a bathroom stall, the place where shame is most dramatically represented. There is a digestive chronology expressed through the act of consumption, which represents a variety of interactions between humanity and material. This consumption relates not just to food but also to the greater social and cultural structure of object interactions.

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