In Fairy Land
Tessa Farmer’s solo exhibition in the Wunderkabinett at The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
June – February 2016
November 8th – Tessa Farmer in Conversation
The Hendrick’s Commission – Generously Supported By Hednrick’s Gin
Since her student days at The Ruskin in Oxford, Tessa Farmer has inhabited a world that is not our world and, to some degree, is not even a human world. It is Fairy World and whereas she started out by making the fairies, increasingly it seems to be the other way around.
At first her subjects were rather innocent and appealing flower fairies. Now an increasingly sinister and hostile force seems to have taken hold, resulting in work that hovers between violence and taunting, haunting humour. Farmer has immersed herself more and more both in the extremes of the natural world and in an almost unhealthy fascination with parasitic wasps, ants and other small nastinesses. She knows that these little creatures harbour an inherent need to destroy. She has learnt this through her residencies in The Natural History Museum and her far-flung collecting trips to the likes of Tasmania and Chilean rainforests, which influence both her practice and that of the Fairies themselves. The Fairies seem to be undergoing evolution at breakneck speed, becoming ever more sophisticated in their tactics to dominate the ecosystem.
On their last visit to 11 Mare Street, in 2011, the Fairies discovered not only an adventure playground, but an armory as well and it became an operational hub for their campaign to take over the world. Whilst they have spent much time in anodyne museum spaces and art galleries and fairs, they find them slightly dull; nowhere else provides them with such freedom to play. Here they have been given free reign to do what they want and, with the changing of status from ‘Shop’ to ‘Museum’, they have chosen to run riot: they will smash cases and cut things up. If they can’t have something, they will destroy it. They will infect the museum with their wanton behaviour, spreading their evil through the minds of the visitors.
So be warned: the Fairies are small and their world is tiny. Not everyone can see them and that is how it should be – not everyone wants to live in a world of Fairies and not everyone wants to see the cruelty and destruction that is all around them, played out both by man and in nature.
A highly illustrated book on Tessa’s work, In Fairyland: The World of Tessa Farmer, will be published by Strange Attractor in autumn of this year.
For further information please contact Theresa Simon & Partners
[email protected] 07976 766221
Limited Edition For Sale
Tessa Farmer Has Created a Signed Limited Edition for the show, available for the museums gift shop or by emailing bar [email protected] (collection only) for £420
Notes to editors
Tessa Farmer was born in 1978 in Birmingham and lives and works in London. She is the great-granddaughter of the influential writer of supernatural horror, Arthur Machen. She studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, The University of Oxford where she received a BFA and an MFA. Her work has been exhibited worldwide and is in many collections including those of The Saatchi Gallery, London, The David Roberts Collection, London and The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania. In 2007 she was artist in residence at the Natural History Museum in London and was nominated for The Times/ Southbank Show Breakthrough Award. In 2011 she was awarded a Kindle Project ‘Makers Muse’ Award. Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition ‘Unwelcome Visitors’ at The Holburne Museum, Bath, ‘The Nature of the Beast’ at New Art Gallery Walsall, ‘Victoriana’ at Guildhall Art Gallery, London and ‘Red Queen’ at MONA, Tasmania. Tessa is represented by Danielle Arnaud, London.