This work is one of the six sculptures that made up my exhibition Darling, Gutter. at Glasgow Sculpture Studios just before Christmas. My intention was to make an installation that tapped into the wider organism of the GSS building, so that it could function in unison with its host.
The sculptures were connected to each other via hot water pipes that were plumbed into the gallery boiler, so that they would heat up and cool down in synchronisation with the rest of the building. I wanted to create intimacy between the artwork and the audience through temperature, to offer a view from inside the whale.
I like to use forms and materials that can be simultaneously seductive and unsettling. Here the sculpture is dense and tumour-like but also soft and voluptuous – like baroque ripples of cloth and plump flesh carved into stone. The large expanding foam shapes were cast into solid Jesmonite, turning a common insulating material into something akin to calcified rock.
I often work with specialist manufacturers to make exciting material discoveries that I adapt to my work; in the past I have made works with vitreous enamellers, aluminium anodisers and plastic vacuum-formers. This project was a new adventure as I produced the work on site at GSS in the three months running up to the exhibition. Working alongside the technical team in their amazing workshops, we were able to prototype and test the boundaries of the materials we were working with in order to find the best visual and technical solutions for making hot sculpture.
Nicolas Deshayes (born 1983, France) is an artist who lives and works in London. His work is included in British Art Show 8, a major survey exhibition organised by Leeds Art Gallery that will tour to Edinburgh from 13 February to 8 May, and which can be seen at three venues – the Talbot Rice, Inverleith House and the Gallery of Modern Art.
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