Nicolas Deshayes:Browns in Full Colour
Jonathan Viner is pleased to present Browns in Full Colour, an exhibition of new works by Nicolas Deshayes. Running intermittently along the tiled wall of the upstairs gallery is a series of five large polystyrene blocks fixed to mustard-coloured poles. The carved, rippled texture of Soho Fats (2012) refers to the filthy interior lining of a sewer pipe. Made from the same polystyrene material that often constitutes the most persistent debris, the panels appear deceptively solid: what seems heavy and dense is actually soft and fragile. While the circumference of the supporting poles would be familiar to any hand that has reached for balance on the London Underground, the rippled surfaces of the polystyrene look like the layers of congealed refuse that drip from the surfaces of another subterranean environment, the sewer systems further underground. The finish of the panels is the result of a manual process, though it appears surprisingly like a generic, digitally generated topography.
Drifter (1-4) (2012), the translucent plastic panels that hang beneath the gallery’s fluorescent lighting, reference the digital aesthetic that the surfaces of Soho Fats hint at. The milky plastic sheets are the colour of tainted liquid, imprinted with the texture of fallen drops, a pattern that Deshayes lifted from a standard screensaver and reproduced through 4D modeling software. While the serial reproduction of the back-lit plastic relates to the advertising points common to underground transport networks, the looming drip again forces associations with the filth of a sewer.
Counteracting the cleanliness of these planes, Paris Rags (2012) offer sodden reproductions of the makeshift devices used to divert the flow of Parisian gutters. Their physicality is that of a once soft and domestic material turned hard by the gritty liquids of the outdoors.
The annodised aluminium panels of Sebums (2012) line the back wall of the upstairs space, investigating the relationship between the gloss of advertising and the excrescent materiality of the products it promotes. The coagulant reliefs that are fixed to the front of these panels bulge outwards like stretched or boiling skin, hung at a height that reinforces a relation to the human body. Downstairs, Acids (2012) is a continuation of this series which shifts to muddied, murky colour palette like promotional graphic hues that have become affected by the corrosion caused by sunlight and rain. These recontextulisations of ordinary materials paired with uncomfortable environmental references is typical of Deshayes’ work where the mundane, generic and sometimes repulsive stuff of everyday life is transformed into aesthetically seductive, viscerally engaging and sometimes disturbing objects.