in Interviews | 16 MAR 06
Featured in
Issue 97

Cosey Fanni Tutti

Cosey Fanni Tutti is an artist who lives and works in Norfolk, England. Her work can be seen in the Tate Triennial, Tate Britain until 14 May and her solo show opens at Fales Library and Special Collection, New York in October. Cosey also works extensively on audio/visual projects with her long-term partner Chris Carter as CTI and CARTER TUTTI. She was a co-founder of Throbbing Gristle, who have recently regrouped. Their first studio album in 25 years, entitled PART TWO, is released this year.

in Interviews | 16 MAR 06

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

A multitude of images, relics and objects that have been a part of, or represent, my life. They are charged with a unique energy that feeds and soothes me. It’s a working space that’s evolved from my working practice and from living in one room when I first left home.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

A 19th-century painting of Saint Sebastian on board the deck of a ship, having his wounds tended. I don’t know who the artist was. I saw the painting on a school trip when I was about 10 years old. I stood and stared at it, fascinated by the details of the puncture wounds and the colour of his skin. The emotion and drama of the image was tangible and I was amazed that paint could evoke this effect. In retrospect I can see how it impacted on my attitude to men, the body, sensuality and pain.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?

I find it impossible to choose just one.

What film has most influenced you?

I have difficulty with the word ‘influenced’ because it implies I base my own work or thinking on an aspect of someone else’s work. I prefer to think of other people’s work as ‘inspiring’.

What do you wish you knew?

The answer to why?

What should change?

The damaging assault on our senses by frenzied marketing, consumerism and the notion of perfection.

What should stay the same?

The active presence of subversion.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

I’d live in the remote countryside with lots of animals and occasionally invite a few friends.

What music are you listening to?

None. I’ve just finished recording and performing two live concerts so I’m having a music-free time.

What are you reading?

An Instance of the Fingerpost (1998) by Iain Pears. It’s a thriller set in the 17th century.

What do you like the look of?

Wild untouched countryside. It gives me some sense of hope.

Why did you choose this image to accompany your answers?

Because it is about more than mere beauty. The galaxy and quasar are separated by time and space and their alignment was a chance moment. It’s literally otherworldly and I like the fact it was produced objectively via the Hubble Space Telescope with no subjective intervention. It’s an intangible and pure image determined by a concept of time and space that has been captured but can never be experienced – a remote reality. These celestials are 80 million and one billion light-years from earth respectively. It’s an astonishing and inspiring image.

What is art for?

It has a multitude of purposes but personally it’s a means of presenting perceptions of life experiences which in turn present questions; a way of evolving rather than a way of fixing something in time or capturing it via imagination.