Tessa Farmer

Tessa Farmer Cosmic Cloud (detail) photo: Thierry Bal


Tesa Farmer's practice involves the creation of detailed narratives in which malevolent fairies overpower and ultimately decimate their host environments.

In Cosmic Cloud, the fairies have their eyes on new planets – they have modified a chimpanzee skull as a space station and they’re using polyps (gas-filled bladders) from Portuguese Man o’ Wars as space pods. In their quest for a new home, they encounter some of the animals we have sent into space – from fruit flies and worms to chimps and dogs.

The Earth is surrounded by a man-made an orbital cloud of debris – there are more than 21,000 pieces larger than 10cm in diameter, and approximately 500,000 debris particles between 1 and 10 cm in size. Over the past 50 years, an average of one cataloged piece of debris fell back to Earth each day.


Tessa Farmer was born in 1978 in Birmingham and now lives and works in London. She received a BA and MA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford. In 2007 she was artist in residence at Natural History Museum, London and that same year was nominated for The Times/The South Bank Show Breakthrough Award. Selected exhibitions include ‘Extraordinary Measures’, Belsay Hall, Newcastle; ‘Dead or Alive’, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; ‘Larger than life - Stranger than Fiction’, 11th Fellback Small Sculpture Triennial, Germany; ‘Newspeak: British Art Now’, Saatchi Gallery, London and Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; ‘Monanism’, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania; ‘ISAM: Control Over Nature’, a collaboration with Amon Tobin, Crypt Gallery, London; ‘House of Beasts’, Attingham Park, Shrewsbury; and Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire.