Critics’ Picks

View of “Delphine Deguislage.”

View of “Delphine Deguislage.”


Delphine Deguislage

105 avenue Besme laan 2nd floor
April 4–May 31, 2014

Several stimuli spring to mind––some somatic, others synthetic––when one swallows Delphine Deguislage’s current solo exhibition, “My Dopamine’s Been Busy.” And it begins with a hit: In Mineral Sex (all works 2014), a poster displayed at the entrance, a masturbating woman is made more modest by a superimposed layer of spliced harlequin pattern made from images of microscopic mineral compositions. More oblique still is another, nearby poster, which shares the show’s name. Here, an image of an ancient ring engraved with cuneiform––its archaic provenance marked by a petrous, timeworn surface––is paired with the titular text in majuscule. The artifact’s former function remains unclear, prodding viewers to envision how hormonal excitation could relate to such a rudimentary hole––a task, for the less penetrating of imaginations among us, much like drawing blood (or other fluids) from a stone.

Lithic sex becomes personified in three dimensions in Sandy, an imposing, over-seven-foot-tall sculpture based on a collage by the artist, in which a fashion model’s inverted, spread-eagle legs usurp the head of a Cycladic fertility statue. Sculpted by hand with resin and sand, this figure with its upturned, flesh-toned extremities, takes on a more fallopian form; its texture, scabrous yet supple, bears the delicate corollate markings where Desguislage has pinched its surface with her flesh-and-blood fingers.

The digits of the artist and those of her public remain highly pertinent to this exhibition: Displayed throughout the apartment––did I mention this is a domestic space?––are four untitled hand-sculpted plaster iPads, offering false invitations to be fingered by viewers. Here, surface, like the ring’s hole, becomes another form of fetishized negative space meant to be filled and fondled––even projected onto––all for the stimulation of a user. The show’s pièce de résistance: five painted, untitled plaster casts of avocados, each bearing the same vagina-resembling nevus, that cuddle together in a homely glass bowl, impervious to the touch or disappointment of an inspector.