News - Eloise Hawser: By The Deep, By the Mark

Somerset House has announced a major exhibition next year by their Studios artist in residence Eloise Hawser...

From feats of engineering to forces of nature, Eloise Hawser excavates & reimagines the hidden flows of the city’s subterranean structures and the circulation in our bodies.

The show will draw on Somerset House’s close relationship with the Thames, the Embankment and the past and future sewage systems that keep the city clean and its population healthy. Part exhibition, part installation, By the deep, by the mark is the result of over a year of research and artistic production whilst in residence onsite and offers visitors a unique insight into Hawser’s creative practice as well as hidden elements of Somerset House’s and London’s social, medical and engineering history.

Over three rooms, Hawser will lead visitors on a journey through a three dimensional mind-map comprised of sculptures, audiovisual displays, carefully researched archival material, floor vinyls and fully functional medical imaging ‘phantoms’. She suggests playful parallels between extraordinary feats of civil engineering and the intricate inner workings of the human body.

During her residency, Hawser has taken inspiration from the site’s history and influential position on the river, adding a site-specific element to the work. By the deep, by the mark opens with 19th-century archival images of Somerset House, showing how the river once flowed right into the building, and charts Bazalgette’s ground-breaking sewer system and subsequent attempts throughout the ages to reclaim the Thames as a space for leisure, rather than industry.

The artist weaves together remarkable innovations in modern medical science with pioneering works of civil engineering, from the 19th-century construction of Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer and the Thames Embankment to the contemporary Thames Tideway ‘Super Sewer’ project. By reanimating the past and mapping the present, Hawser will present both of these industries as the result of our fear of pollution and disease and the desire for control over our bodily processes.

Hawser juxtaposes maps, models and measurements of the Thames with cutting edge diagnostic ‘phantoms’, specialist machines rarely seen outside of a hospital or laboratory which are used to calibrate medical imaging equipment and analyse fluid dynamics within the body. By drawing together two seemingly unrelated disciplines, Hawser’s work suggests a correlation between revolutionary urban and medical innovations in the way they measure, process and predict mysterious natural and bodily phenomena.

Marie McPartlin, Director of Somerset House Studios, said, “A year on from the launch of Somerset House Studios, we’re delighted to announce the first large-scale exhibition from a resident artist at Somerset House. The culmination of a lengthy research project into urban space and unusual collections supported by the Studios, the exhibition traverses engineering, mapping and technologies old and new. Reflecting Somerset House’s vision to be a centre of imagination and creation, By the deep, by the mark manifests our dedication to supporting the most exciting artists working today to make their most ambitious projects yet and presenting them as part of our programme”

By the deep, by the mark will be the second exhibition in the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series, an ongoing partnership with the leading law firm to present a wide range of free exhibitions reflecting the broad interests of both organisations.

Dates: 31 January – 22 April 2018Times: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday & Sundays 10.00-18.00 (last admission 17.00), Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays 11.00-20.00 (last admission 19.00)
Tickets: Free available at

Image - Somerset House
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