Des Hughes: The Screaming Abdabs

The Showroom presents the first solo exhibition by London based artist Des Hughes since graduating from Goldsmiths College in 2002.

Part of the undeniable charm of Hughes’ work is its low-fi quality. He creates detailed simulacra and caricatures of mundane, everyday objects, counterbalanced with occasional interjections of the real. Exact replicas of rolls of masking tape and nails, Philip Gustonesque renderings of peas and sausages, mixed with actual records and magazines, evoke curiosity and delight.

Hughes’ juxtaposing the real and the illusionary in his work blurs the boundaries between function and fantasy. The familiar remains recognisable, but through Hughes’s system of classification and presentation of ‘things’, the most banal of objects are reconsidered and their own individual characteristics are revealed. Many of his works resemble prototypes for what might become functional objects. Among his work are items that could be seen as light fittings, seating units and occasional tables. Hughes provokes a dilemma for the viewer as to how his work should be evaluated. Taking Duchamp’s principle of the readymade to a new level, Hughes’ own intricately hand-crafted ‘readymades’ bring fact and fiction into question. His work prompts an evaluation of culture’s increasing obsession with surface over content in a highly sophisticated, yet sublimely simple way.

For The Showroom, Hughes creates a new body of work that continues his process of reconfiguring everyday surroundings and common objects. A series of human-scale figures, constructed from plastic pipe, become the means of displaying medium and smaller scale works.


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