23 Feb - 13 Apr, 2023
For Deeper and Deeper, his first exhibition in Milan, Shahryar Nashat presents a new installation that incorporates living liquids in dialogue with new sculptures and pieces from his ongoing series of "meat objects".Nashat looks at the way the body is a source of fascination, attraction and tension. Just as desire has the well proven habit of projecting bodily qualities onto objects and artifacts, seeing them as stand-ins, so the artist employs technologies, both digital and analog, to create work that extends and is infused by physical and biological properties and implications.///
In the main gallery, laying on discarded foam mattresses, smudged by time and marked by exposure to light and use, Nashat has placed a cluster of five glass tanks of various sizes, blanketed in layers of salt encrustations. They have become the habitat of an organism that becomes pigment: the apparently artificial color of the water filling the tanks, collected from the Camargue salt pans and in which the algae Dunaliella salina proliferates in warmer climates, is in fact the chromatic manifestation of a biological survival, far away and off season. Adding to the saltiness of the water, human tears have been shed into these breathing ecosystems,
The other sculptures positioned in the show are also types of containers. Three monochromatic 3D-printed food blenders, totems for the generation of nutrient produce, and three plastic trays. The shininess of the resin makes them seem wet, when in fact they hang unfilled. They look like memories, or omens. Their very emptiness highlights their nature of stagnant polymers, which recalls fossilizations of digital color. Vessels for fluids that have evaporated or have yet to condense.The new "meat objects" in the exhibition continue Nashat’s ongoing series of inkjet prints smeared with jelly acrylic, depicting what appears like the same ribcage interior of decaying flesh, coated in what looks like some bodily secretion.The most persistent body iconography in western civilization, stretched and chopped, treats the shocking realism of decomposing flesh conjured by Holbein the Younger like a sampled track.With rooms clad in slick formica and exposed plywood, the design of the exhibition amplifies the tensions at play within the works between interior and exterior, contained and contaminated, the authentic and surrogate.