Nicolas Deshayes hijacks industrial production processes, alters their physical properties by pushing the materials to their limits, and in doing so unleashes their creative potential. Neoprene foam, polystyrene, cast iron, vitreous enamel and anodised aluminium – usually the reserve of manufacturing, shipbuilding and sterile institutional infrastructures – are transformed into painterly and visceral materials that exude a poetic, sensual and corporeal quality. His manipulation of materials creates hybrid, uncanny works that destabilise conventional dichotomies. Although the human body is absent from his work, its presence is always felt, highlighting the way the urban environment can sanitise the body or cancel it out. The materials he uses have skin-like membranes that defy their artificial nature. The concave and convex forms of his recent ceramics recall bidets and sinks as well as corporeal bulges and orifices. Inspired by Limoges’ long established tradition of porcelain manufacturing, Deshayes is keen to pursue his recent investigation into the world of ceramics and slip casting.
Text by Coralie Malissard
Nicolas Deshayes (b 1983, Nancy, France). Lives and works in London and Dover. Recent solo exhibitions include Battersea Park’s Pleasure Gardens, Pumphouse Gallery, London (2018), Basement Roma, Rome (2018), and Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Milan (2016). Group exhibitions include FRAC Grand Large, Dunkirk (2018); Tate St Ives (2017); Drawing Room, London (2017); and Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2016).