À Fleurer

Floral and epistolary action, 2016

A weekly action in which Nemer shares private letters from his personal collection with local florists, who then  interpret the contents of the writing in flowers. The project reverses the legendary 1948 correspondence between French novelist Colette and her Swiss publisher Henri-Louis Mermod, which involved Mermod sending weekly bouquets to Colette to which she responded with writing. The resulting collection of essays on floral themes was published in 1949 under the title Pour Un Herbier.

The first expression of À Fleurer was commissioned by curator Tarin Dehod, and involved the participation of florist Jill Wilges and screenprinter Michael Peterson. The letters addressed themes of abandonment, sexual frustration, emotional exhaustion, blocked creativity and the trembling beginnings of new love. A second iteration was staged at Platforms Athens. Local writer and composer Kiriakos Spirou picked flowers from the Athenian hills in response to letter pages sent to him by the artist about inherited gardens and the poetry of Constantin Cavafy. À Fleurer was staged a third time in 2021 at the Newlyn Art Gallery, in a twelve-week iteration. Each week, local florist Zennor Wild interpreted the text of a postcard sent to her by Nemer. The weekly floral arrangements were exhibited in the gallery alongside a growing accumulation of postcards. The narrative took inspiration from a visit to an exhibition of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, and reflected on lost love, the mnemonic power of images, and acts of curation.

Photos by Derek Sandbeck, Bastien Pourtout, and Emilie Swann