Columns on fashion, culture and ideas

Art & Culture / Exhibit A

Supplement by Nicolas Deshayes

In her column, Skye Sherwin singles out artistic works, museum artefacts and curiosities from around the world for closer inspection

Ethan Breckenridge & Sean Dack, My Thoughts On Your Thoughts, (Fifteen, Fifteen, And Thirty For Lunch), 2010 and Nicholas Deshayes, Back to the Drawing Board and Supplement 4, 2009
Ethan Breckenridge & Sean Dack, My Thoughts On Your Thoughts, (Fifteen, Fifteen, And Thirty For Lunch), 2010 and Nicholas Deshayes, Back to the Drawing Board and Supplement 4, 2009 Courtesy the artists and Zabludowicz Collection. Photography by Stephen White.

Food photography is a deceptive business. To create the gelatinous, juicy-looking glazes and succulent hues necessary to truly whet a reader’s appetite, the food stylist must employ ingredients you wouldn’t put down your neck in a hurry.

Food photography is a deceptive business. To create the gelatinous, juicy-looking glazes and succulent hues necessary to truly whet a reader’s appetite, the food stylist must employ ingredients you wouldn’t put down your neck in a hurry. Shower gel, engine oil and wood stain are amongst the behind-the-scenes secrets of those mouth-watering Sunday supplement images.

Rising young art star Nicolas Deshayes has fully embraced the process in his recreations of lifestyle magazine cookery pages, Supplement 1-9 series. The delights he offers us include the velvety rumples of an artichoke’s leaves, a crisped coating of toasted parmesan clinging to an oyster shell and the glimmering skin of a silvery grilled fish. Deshayes presents these glutinously rich, queasily sexual images on book-like aluminium supports: hard, brittle lightweight skins. It’s a perusal of surface and substance that riffs on different notions of taste, of the mind and the mouth, and what is forever being lost in between.

Two of these food-related works are currently included in the sculpture show, The Shape We’re In, alongside a number of other pieces by the recent Royal College graduate. Deshayes’ Public Work (1 & 2) is a pair of gleaming minimalist wall pieces in wipe-clean stainless steel. The first thing they make you think of though is a urinal: sections of their curved surfaces seem to have been blasted by a hot stream of piss and the metal shines with artful drips. Like the food photography they provoke the bodily and yet repel it, in their perfect designer surfaces.

Nicolas Deshayes' work can be seen in The Shape We’re In, Zabludowicz Collection, London. A new commission, Precursor, is also currently on show at Event Gallery, London.

Skye Sherwin is a writer living in London. A regular Guardian arts columnist and former Deputy Editor of ArtReview, she has contributed to titles such as Harper's Bazaar,10, Wallpaper, Time Out, i-D Magazine and many others

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