Nicolas Lamas at In extenso

Artist: Nicolas Lamas

Exhibition title: Impermanence

Curated by: Pietro Della Giustina

Venue: In extenso, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Date: February 27 – April 5, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and In extenso, Clermont-Ferrand

In extenso is delighted to present Impermanence, the first solo  show in France by Peruvian, Brussels-based artist Nicolas Lamas. The newly produced site-specifc installation is an  exploration of the ephemeral nature of consumer products, linking the human sphere to the natural world. Following  his intuition, Nicolas Lamas collects industrial products and organic elements which he selects for their functions, forms  and precariousness. From IKEA to flea markets, passing by scrap yards on the way, the artist follows the path of a product’s life from production to consumption, extracting it from the perpetual flux of circulation by transforming it into an archaeological artefact. Imagined as fragments of a dismembered body, the objects are manipulated and assembled into unexpected compositions. Like an expanded vanitas painting within the different spaces of In extenso, the exhibition can be read as an assemblage of allegories inviting the audience  to generate new associations and interpretations.

At the exhibition’s entrance, the jaw of a manta ray nestles inside of a safety helmet. Behind it, a refrigerator sliced in half accommodates a bovine femur, whose rib the artist has also placed on a used pair of jeans. Along the right wall, a clarinet serves as a connector for a PVC pipe. A single-phase motor mimics the presence of a moving machine penetrating the wall, next to two fragments of a radiator imitating a spine. In front of the window, a zebra leg acts as a support for a steel bar. These arrangements, both poetic and rudimentary, display the potential for interchangeability and fusion of objects of disparate origins and periods.

The second part of the exhibition reveals a laboratory in the making based on a structure of intersections. The artist creates a visual clash between the space’s raw architecture
and the aseptic installation of standard tables, white, neon lights and decomposing materials (bits of debris exposing their viscera).

In the projection room, a parade of anonymous images from the artist’s archives is presented. Nicolas Lamas’ Instagram account brings together multiple perspectives and creates a parallel with his artistic practice. Through posts and stories (short ephemeral videos), he collects fragments of works, images taken from the Internet, photos of found objects, and eclectic experiences. The need to document and share our vicissitudes and environments on social networks manifests our physical and visual relationship to the world and the objects that inhabit it, as well as our fear of the ephemeral nature of existence. As in the case of sacrificial rituals in which a prayer must be repeated in order to become eternal, the artist regularly publishes images on his profile, which becomes the faithful mirror of his artistic research.

The tour ends in the In extenso cellar, accessible to the public for the first time, which gives access to a context at once hostile and contemplative, pulsing like a living organism. A stroboscope installed in the center of the room produces alternating phases of intense light and total darkness, offering the visitor a hypnotic and psychedelic spectacle, a momentary escape from reality.

Nicolas Lamas (Lima, Peru,1980) lives and works in Brussels. Recent international exhibitions include Permafrost, MO.CO. (Montpellier, 2020); An exhibition with works by…, Witte de With (Rotterdam, 2020); Archaeology of darkness, Galerie Meessen De Clercq (Brussels, 2019); Des attentions, Le Crédac (Ivrysur-Seine, 2019); Drowning in a sea of data, La Casa Encendida (Madrid, 2019); Liminality, Sabot (Cluj – Napoca, 2018); Becoming animal, Tenderpixel (London, 2018); and Todo objeto es un espacio temporal, Joan Miró Foundation (Barcelona, 2016).