TENDED - Solo Exhibition at Somers Gallery, London, 28th March - 1st April 2023

Featured in FAD Magazine

Installation picture at Somers Gallery, 2023

Still from Traced, HD Video, 6 mins 44 secs, 2022

Installation picture at Somers Gallery, 2023

Installation picture at Somers Gallery, 2023

Video tour of Tended (with sound) at Somers Gallery, 2023

Curated by Paul Carey-Kent and Jessica Carlisle

Private View
Tuesday 28 March 6-8pm
28 Mar - 1 April 2023
12-6pm or by appointment
Somers Gallery, 96 Chalton Street, London NW1 1HJ

In ‘Tended’, Nadège Mériau finds light and beauty in darkness and constraint through linked works emerging from the successive challenges of the Covid pandemic and her own cancer diagnosis. The healing qualities of plants are key to dealing with both imperilments as she grows, harvests, displays and eats them.

In the lockdown series 'Cropped', we see the artist’s hands holding vegetables. Careful examination reveals that these are not photographs but scans, in the course of which Mériau has moved the vegetables to provoke analogue distortions which add a painterly touch while reading as digital glitches and also suggesting the presence of water. The frame of the scanner acts as the limit, cropping the crops. Mériau grew the food herself and consumed it twice – first through a bodily performance and then putting it into her body. 'Cropped' foregrounds caring, but there is also some earthy humour in how a phallic courgette is held, and an almost religious treatment of radishes or squashes as improbable icons.

The series 'Scanned' is also made with a flatbed scanner, but this time it relates directly to medical scans, of which Mériau had plenty during recent – successful – cancer treatment. ‘There was something comforting’, she says, ‘in scanning my body in a different way’. By staying slightly ahead of the scanner’s movement, she conjures an ethereal self along with such natural elements as seaweed and peelings of beech bark, the latter rhymed with clumps of hair she lost during chemotherapy. A different sort of care-driven beauty comes into focus.

Those series are the results of performances not seen directly, so it not surprising that their themes feed in to Mériau’s filmed performances. 'Future Facing' is a playful yet unsettling precursor to 'Scanned': we see Mériau Photoshopping the anticipated side effects of chemotherapy as she braces herself for an experience she’s termed ‘un-selfing’. 'Traced' sees her treading a remarkably well-balanced, Zen-paced path around the edge of a square. That reminds us of the limits of the scanner’s frame, evoking constriction and even imprisonment. Yet the square is made of light, countering the surrounding shadow. And 'Shared' has not just movement but sound, as Mériau makes music of a sort by pouring water between three differently-sized pots. She teases us with the possibility of a sequence as she measures out the liquid, an action which refers to sharing, exchange and family, but also suggests urination – back to that earthy humour – and the sort of ruefully futile repetition you might find in Samuel Beckett. There will also be participative Kinhin walks with artist, daily during the show’s run – adding an extra dimension to the sense of sharing.

Finally, Mériau herself does not appear in 'From Times of Fearing Touch', but her unseen presence is evident in how she films ‘blindly’, her hands feeling their way along walls and underwater with a small camera. The title evokes the pandemic, and the work explores not only the sense of touch and our need for it, but also our sense of belonging: to and from one another, our environment and all that is beyond the human. Mériau says her inspiration was snails’ tactile approach to exploration and communal encounters.

In tribute to that, Anna Frijstein will perform as a snail on 1 April.

Put the whole of ‘Tended’ together, and what’s striking is how delicately Mériau keeps several related themes in play across apparently simple actions: that integrated richness generates a sense of optimism from what could have been plain adversity.

Paul Carey-Kent, March 2023

Daily Kinhin Walks (with Artist): 12.30pm
Artist in Conversation with Janine Catalano: Thursday 30 March 6.30pm
In conversation with art historian Janine Catalano
Performances by Anna Frijstein and Paul Carey-Kent: Saturday 1 April 4pm
Anna Frijstein performs Snail without a shell - Mortality Solutions, in response to TENDED, 2023
Paul Carey-Kent is a writer and curator. In addition to his weekly column in FAD art news and his monthly interviews for Artlyst, he writes freelance for Art Monthly, Seisma, STATE, Border Crossings and World of Interiors.

Jessica Carlisle is a contemporary art professional who has worked variously as gallery director, curator, project manager and artist agent. In 2014 she established a gallery programme presenting exhibitions first in Knightsbridge SW1 and thereafter at 4 Mandeville Place W1. She is currently Managing Director of Artistate, an organisation assisting artists and artist estates with legacy planning.

Janine Catalano is an art and food historian, with a particular focus on modern and contemporary art. She completed a Masters at the Courtauld and has since published on the relationship between food and art, featured in conversations at Tate and on BBC Radio 4, and taught and lectured at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the Courtauld and beyond, alongside designing and delivering curated culinary events and leading gastronomic tours of London. She is currently Director of Strategic Partnerships & Alumni Relations at Sotheby's Institute of Art.

Anna Frijstein obtained her MA from the Royal College of Art in London in 2019 where she currently lives and works. Frijstein’s practice involves performance, painting, drawing, collage, video, and sculptural installations executed in a playful manner. Beneath the playfulness lies a more unsettling layer of dark humour provoked by thoughts and feelings around socio-psychological and ecological issues.

SUN IN PISCES at the Photobook Cafe, 25th February



A screening and poetry event exploring the shapes of Medicine
Curated by Izzy McEvoy and Nadège Mériau
Saturday 25th February 2023, 4-6pm
Photobook Café, 4 Leonard Circus, EC2A 4DQ
BOOK HERE https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sun-in-pi…

Participating artists :
Brenda Hickin, Paul Carey-Kent, Izzy McEvoy, Nadège Mériau, Natalie Price Hafslund and
Liz Orton.
Total running time 65 mins

On the 25th February the sun will be transiting in the constellation of Pisces, a mutable, negative, water sign traditionally associated with the archetypes of the wounded healer, the mystic, the addict and the artist. It belongs to the 12th house, the house of self-undoing and surrender, that which rules prisons, hospitals, mental institutions and monasteries. It is also the residence of the collective unconscious, wellspring of symbols and images, still and moving, the house of photography and film. We trust that this is a good omen for our event and its participants, as they fearlessly explore the shapes of Medicine though film, photography and poetry.

Brenda Hickin’s "Woman Bathing" is a twenty-two-minute, unedited silent film study of an 84-year-old woman executing the last solitary and intimate act of self-grooming after being assessed at risk and not capable to continue showering unaided.
"Every Body is an Archive" is a short film in which the body is re-conceptualised as a new kind of archive. Liz Orton interweaves two narratives: her experience of looking through her mother’s medical images after her death; alongside a broader inquiry into the politics of machine vision and medicine.
"I'm only a head, and you're whatever you are. Together we're strong. More powerful than any of them", a film by Natalie Price Hafslund, is taken from "The Brain that wouldn’t die", a 1962 American science fiction horror film that tells the story of a mad doctor who develops a means to keep human body parts alive. He keeps his fiancée's severed head alive for days, whilst he attempts to source a body to complete her. Here, the artist assumes the role of the head.
Paul Carey-Kent will perform a set of photo-poems composed during his 25 days spent in hospital initially with sepsis, then for a bowel operation after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. "The Death Suite" pairs darkly humorous quatrains with views of Southampton hospital - the place, not the people - as he muses on death.
"Guide|2" is a film portrait of Ciara Sherlock, shamanic counsellor, founder of the Psychedelic Society of Ireland, and co-founder of Alalaho, a psilocybin retreat organisation. Following her interests that lie at the ‘intersection of altered states of consciousness, nature connection and spiritual practice’, Ciara leads the audience on a shamanic drum journey – an ancient trance-inducing ritual from the Celtic lineage.
In her short performative video, "Infusion", Nadège Mériau tentatively palpates the idyllic countryside view from an artist studio, as she reconnects with the “outside world” and her art practice following a year of seclusion in and out of hospital.
In "Future Facing", we see her Photoshopping the anticipated side effects of chemotherapy as she playfully braces herself for the strange experience of “un-selfing”.

'An eXhibition of SMALL things with BIG ideas' at White Conduit Projects, Opening 3rd Dec 2022


"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.' - William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2 Scene 2. An infinite world can exist in a condensed object. 'An eXhibition of SMALL things with BIG ideas' attempts to uncover the maximal imaginary perspectives secreted in the minimally-sized works of more than forty participating artists. Each idea finds its form within an economical 37 x 37 cm, and is reflected in short texts by the artists.
From Times of Fearing Touch, 2020, HD Video with sound, 1:46 mins
From Times of Fearing Touch was filmed “blindly”, my hands feeling their way along walls and underwater with a small camera. The work emerged from the fear of touch, of losing touch and the longing to stay in touch…taking snails’ tactile approach to exploration and communal encounters as inspiration.It was made during the pandemic, exploring not only the sense of touch but our sense of belonging and disconnection, to and from one another, our environment and all that is beyond human.

Artist Talk
14 Jan 4-5 pm:
Brian Dawn Chalkley, Liane Lang, Eric Butcher, Nadege Meriau,
Maria Marshall, Liz Elton, Simon Leahy-Clark, Jillian Knipe, Bella Easton
20 Jan 4-5 pm:
Fiona Grady, Fiona G Roberts, Darren O’Brien, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva,
Juan Bolivar, Yukako Shibata, Kristian Evju, Rebecca Byrne, John Peter Askew

Curators Paul Carey-Kent and Yuki Miyake chairing artists' talks

SHE SPEAKS UP, 228 Chingford Mount Rd, 2-18 NOV 2022

I am delighted to take part in this group show curated by Sharon Young with "Infusion", a short film I started during my residency at Joya Arte + Ecologia and recently completed with added layers of sound and footage.





JOYA ARTE+ECOLOGIA Artist Residency, June 2022



Still from Traced, HD Video, 6 mins 44 secs, 2022

Still from Shared, HD Video, 3 mins 55 secs, 2022

In June I was selected for a residency at JOYA AIR : "an arts led field research centre which facilitates an international network of artists and writers whilst simultaneously breathing life into an arid zone struggling against the combined forces of climate change, global markets and land degradation».

When I arrived at Joya, I was struck by the lack of sound and light pollution (with nights so clear you feel closer to the stars) and an unusual sense of stillness. The light was almost too bright, sunsets almost too unbearably colourful and the singing of insects and birds almost too loud. The biodiversity there was so rich it felt like an assault to the senses. There was an instant feeling of joyful connection to the place.

So on I went, recording sounds on my walks every morning and evening, breathing and listening attentively. But what took me by surprise was the work I did in response to the studio space I was allocated. Somehow I felt I had to inhabit this space, and time, which I had been given. First I became fascinated by the resident insects and the sound they made as they went about their daily business, then I started to look at the view and the play of light flooding in through the window at different times of the day. I filmed it all, and spontaneously began to perform in front of the camera, which was something I had not planned.

I enjoyed the natural structure imposed by the changing light and temperature. It was simply too hot to go out in the middle of the day and this provided time to rest and review what I had recorded and filmed in the morning.

The evening meals and talks with other artists provided stimulating exchanges and encouraging feedback on the new directions my work was taking.

Unselfing: TULCA Festival of Visual Arts. Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

Curated by Gregory McCartney

TULCA Festival of Visual Arts’ UnSelfing Programme
Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture
ONLINE via Abridged + printed publication
1 December 2020 - 25 March 2021
They Who Eat My Flesh, Scan on Hahnemüle paper, 2019

Still from From Times of Fearing Touch, HD video, 1min 46sec, 2020

Nadège Mériau
Stuart Cairnes
Daniel Seiffert
Tara Wray

Professor Lorna Piatti-Farnell
Peter Knight
Dr Dara Downey
Anna Walsh
Gail McConnell
Sharon Young

"In Meriau’s suite of imagery fish skins act as negatives, snails illicit physical responses, a seabed becomes a reflection of inner states, the body becomes a darkroom; magical images emerge from the unseen. If, as Merleau-Ponty suggests, the body can expand our understanding of knowledge, what does this mean about the possibilities of how we interact with art? The embodied looking I encountered in Meriau’s pieces The Fall, In these Times and They Who Eat My Flesh shows that art has the potential to transcend the material and the subject/object orientation. Through this process of ‘reciprocal interrelation’ new knowledge can be discovered in unexpected ways. The magic of the photographic darkroom is not confined to a darkened room but can be carried with us in our bodies, if we choose to allow ourselves to step into that concrete essence that leads to existential experience." Sharon Young, In The Darkroom of the Body, 2020.

Direct link to my work https://www.abridged.zone/nadege-meriau/
Direct link to Sharon Young's essay https://www.abridged.zone/sharon-young-i…

Petites Morts in the ROT issue of The Learned Pig, July 2020

"We are born of indigestion."

"There was always contamination and collaboration before there was you and me: the bacteria in our gut, the mites who clean our eyelashes, all the innumerable microbiota who inhabit our bodies, who are our bodies."

"In the age of a pandemic, we have no choice but to recognise this virus as our body too."

~ Julia Cavicchi, editor, ROT
Petite Mort II, LED Lightbox, 30x40cm, 2016

Brilliantly conceived and edited by Julia Cavicchi, ROT is a wide-ranging celebration of cross-contamination, co-creation & collaboration - across disciplines, across species.

Featuring artists, activists, ecologists & more, ROT is a rich compost heap of ideas, a place to learn to attend not only to our creaturely kin but also to our toxic progeny.


Publication: SPUD (2009-2019) by Deirdre O’Mahony - March 2020

I am delighted to be included in SPUD, Deirdre O'Mahony's recently published book on the politics of food and 'tacit knowledge of farming'. I thoroughly enjoyed contributing to this collaborative project while on my residency at the Florence Trust and beyond.
SPUD, published by Deirdre O'Mahoney, edition 27/300, 2020

SPUD, published by Deirdre O'Mahoney, edition 27/300, 2020

SPUD, published by Deirdre O'Mahoney, edition 27/300, 2020
'Lifeline' is one of my contribution to SPUD. It was made with a drain inspection camera and a few ideas in mind: the rhizomatic and secretive nature of the potato, its subterranean networks and its apparent likeness to human reproductive organs. Lifeline was first shown at The Florence Trust in London and then at Taroudant University, Morocco. See in Film section of this website.
SPUD, published by Deirdre O'Mahoney, here featuring my Solanum Tuberosum work at BCA Gallery, County Clare

SPUD, published by Deirdre O'Mahoney, edition 27/300, 2020

To buy the book click here https://www.deirdre-omahony.ie/works-and…

Auto//Fiction exhibition & symposium, July 2019

A research led symposium and exhibition organised by Sharon Boothroyd and Marita Fraser with Linda Rocco, supported by the Speaking of Her RCA Research Network.

Autofiction, Dyson Gallery, Installation photograph , July 2019

In recent times speaking in the first person, or the merging of author and protagonist, has had a resurgence, both in academic discourse (Palmer, Cattle) and literature (Kraus, Nelson, Smith). In art practice, literature and academia there appears to be a re-emergence of methods that challenge traditional forms of narration and argumentation. There is now a revitalised discourse around questions such as: What is the place of fiction in academic writing? What theoretical frameworks does auto-fictional writing offer and/or restrict? How can autobiography transcend the personal? Is the ‘I’ gendered? This event will explore and reflect on this movement and its uses within arts research.

Symposium| 9 July | Gorvy Lecture Theatre | 10am – 4.30pm
Keynote Speakers: Beatrice Gibson, Sally O'Reilly and Tanya Augsburg with presentations from:
Adjoa Armah, Federica Bueti, Juliette Blightman, Sharon Boothroyd, Marita Fraser, Niklas Lichti, Charan Singh and Tom Smith

Exhibition |Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, 1 Hester Road, SW11 4AN PV: Tuesday 9 July | 5.30pm
(Exhibition continues daily until 12 July. OPEN 10am-6pm)

Exhibiting artists include:
Helen Barff, Juliette Blightman, Esme Boggis, Sharon Boothroyd, Chantal Faust, Rebecca Fortnum, Marita Fraser, Gill Houghton, Tami Izko, Lali Khalid, Janice Levy, Mars, Nadège Mériau, Trish Morrissey, Marianne Mulvey, Ralph Pritchard, Mark Riley, Colette Standish & Poppy Whatmore
They Who Eat My Flesh, Scan on Hahnemüle paper, 2019

They Who Eat My Flesh II, Scan on Hahnemüle paper, 2019

They Who Eat My Flesh (prints) and The Way Out Is In (sculpture) at Auto//Fiction, Dyson Gallery, July 2019