‘By The Deep, By The Mark’ – Eloise Hawser at Somerset House

A new exhibition exploring the connections between the hidden flows of London’s subterranean structures and the circulation in our bodies…

Eloise Hawser: By The Deep, By The Mark will be exhibited by Somerset House from 31st January to 22nd April 2018.

A major new exhibition has just begun at Somerset House, London.  The show is the first of its kind – examining connections between civil engineering and cutting-edge medical imaging devices.  Resident Artist Eloise Hawser has taken inspiration from Somerset House’s history and enviable geographical position on the River Thames, to add site-specific elements to her work.  According to the gallery, visitors are offered ‘an insight into Hawser’s unique creative practice as well as hidden elements of Somerset House’s and London’s social and engineering history, which has impacted on individual bodies and the community as a whole’.

An installation view from the By The Deep, By the Mark exhibition by Resident Artist, Eloise Hawser.  Based on 2 years of extensive research, one of the show’s themes is the relationship between the Thames and the Embankment.  Even the exhibition title refers to an antiquated manner of measuring the depth of water, using a weighted line.


The exhibition will chart relationships between extraordinary feats of civil engineering and the intricate inner workings of the human body.  A collection of multi-disciplinary elements, brought together by Eloise Hawser through research and original works, comprises sculptures, collage, video simulations, sound art installations, archival imagery and fully-functional medical imaging ‘phantoms’.  This is the first time that phantoms – a crucial part of modern medical practice – will be shown in a creative setting.  They are specially-designed gadgets used to test medical imaging equipment such as x-rays and MRI/CT scanners in place of a human being.

A highlight of the exhibition is an innovative sculpture, placing disparate phantom objets together to create a human form, thus suggesting the body as an extension of the engineering systems that support life in the city.  Hawser has drawn on many different industries to bring together these objets, which – once taken out of their original context – allow other artistic stories to come to the fore.

By The Deep, By The Mark charts how improved understanding of our bodies has instigated advances in engineering – such as the 19th-Century Cholera epidemic leading to Joseph Bazalgette’s ground-breaking sewer system, and the contemporary Thames Tideway ‘Super Sewer’ project.


Marie McPartlin, Director of Somerset House Studios, has commented:-

‘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, ‘Eloise Hawser: 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…’.

This exhibition will be the second exhibition in the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series, and ongoing partnership with the leading law firm to present a wide range of free exhibitions reflecting the broad interests of both organisations.  ‘By The Deep, By The Mark’ is also supported by the Port of London Authority, with help from HR Wallingford.

Free, drop-in exhibition tours will be held on Mondays from 1.30pm, and will reflect on the artist’s creative processes and artistic philosophies.

Credits: Victoria Heald, Somerset House Press Office.


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