Thems Please. Des Hughes

76 Chatsworth Road, Clapton, London.
July – August 2011.

Thems Please is an exhibition of sculptures made over a fifteen year period by British artist Des Hughes.

Installed in the old newsagent A. E. Barrow on Chatsworth Road in Hackney the exhibition offers a unique glimpse at the interior of an old Victorian shop. The sculptures themselves merge into the fabric of the shop blurring fact and fiction together to create an alternative version of a lost reality; a surreal and often comic commentary on the monotony of the everyday.

Des explains: ‘Many of the works consist of rough approximations of everyday objects or familiar things, half remembered, half-baked, deliberately clichéd. Whilst being close to being totally insignificant they exhibit evidence of industry. My works are attempts at some kind of transformation with the very minimum of handling, working or manipulation.’

The shop was built in the 1870s and contains the remains of over century of local high street history. Old packing boxes of Players cigarettes, newspapers from the 50s and 60s and Melody Makers from 90s, together with tin boxes of jean button studs and old sweet jars line the dusty shelves.

The shop became a book shop during the exhibition, selling books published by The Hackney Society and a selection of books about local history and Hackney based fiction from Pages of Hackney, the bookshop on Lower Clapton Road. To open the shop legally without having to apply for change of use from Hackney Council, the simplest option was to sell things again, and books being the best option.

Puss & Mew London Gin was served at the opening evening and for all the events at the shop during the exhibition.

Des Hughes is represented by Ancient & Modern