Nadege Meriau’s photographic works of the potato’s secret world were in Tulca 2012. Seen in an Irish context the images were full of metaphoric richness and for SPUD: London, Meriau has extended her investigations of the potato at the Florence Trust where she has just completed a year-long residency. Together with O’Mahony she has cultivated a potato bed in the garden of the grade II listed church.
The Summer Show at the Florence Trust provided a first public platform for Meriau’s photographic investigations and a second harvest event took place on September 2013 where Meriau’s films of the underworld of the potato were exhibited and visitors served potato cakes made using MOPE* cookie cutters made by O’Mahony.
*MOPE = Most Oppressed People Ever. The term was coined by historian Liam Kennedy to provoke a re-examination of Gerry Adams’ claim that the Irish were more ill-treated than any people at any time in history.
MOPE oppressed potato cakes...
Making the Potato bed in London April 2013.
Meriau has filmed and photographed the growing SPUD crop underground, stretching the use of the camera as an investigative tool by using a wireless snakecam to film and record the potato’s secret underworld and mapping the invisible networks between tuber, micro-organisms, and plant.
Nadege Meriau, Lifeline Video Still 2013.
Arran Victory was bred in the Isle of Arran by Donald Mackelvie. Victory is the oldest of the "Arrans" still grown, was named in 1918 in celebration of the ending of the war. It is rare and is one of only two blue skinned varieties still available for general cultivation. It is high yielding given a long season and has a good resistance to blight. The tubers are round to short oval with blue skin, snowy white flesh and deep eyes. In Scotland they are still regarded with some awe as the premium late season variety. A popular garden variety. Flowers White.
TYPE 2 Sarpo Mira: a red variety resistant to blight and recently developed in Hungary by the Sarvaris family who carried on the Soviet breeding program started in the 1930’s by agricultural botanist Nicolay Ivanovich Vavilov in the wake of the famine in the Soviet Union after the First World War. He created one of the largest agricultural research institutes in the world with networks across the Soviet Union, including Hungary, and links with institutes across the world. He sent teams of researchers across the world gathering plants, including to South America, establishing great seed collections in the USSR, however he was discredited in the 1930 by and ended his life in Siberia. The Sarpo varieties are a legacy of this research. Sarpo Mira they cannot be left in the ground too long as they become starchy, perhaps one of the reasons they have developed a reputation for not having a great flavor amongst growers in Clare, however their resistance to blight outweighs this deficit for many growers. Flowers Pink
Supported by Clare County Arts Office