Her name came about in 1973, before which she performed under the name Cosmosis. According to John Ford, "Cosey Fanni Tutti" was suggested to her by mail artist Robin Klassnick, and it comes from the opera Così fan tutte, meaning literally "They [women] all do the same."
She was a performer with COUM Transmissions of which she was a founding member in 1969. Her addition changed the nature of the group, which, when she joined, was still mostly a musical venture. From that point on, COUM performances became events or, in 1960s parlance, happenings, involving props, costumes, dance, improvisation and street theatre. As an installation artist, she was selected in 1975 to represent Britain at the IXth Biennale de Paris.
Visual Art Works and Performance Art
She worked for two years on the 'Prostitution' project as part of COUM Transmissions in which she created a revealing exhibition about the porn and sex industry. For this project, she worked as a model for sex magazines and films (see section on Pornography below). It was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 1976. Censorship restrictions were imposed on the exhibition so only one image can be viewed at a time. The project additionally involved a performance and discussion events in which women working in the sex industry and the public could enter a dialogue about issues surrounding this industry and prostitution. Tutti additionally used her used tampons and used diapers from Mary Kelly (artist)'s work. This "aroused hysterical reactions from the British media and art establishment, unable to address the political implications of the work".
She had a long career as a stripper and in the fields of pornographic film and magazines, stemming from a desire to incorporate her own image into collages she produced in this period. This willingness to deliberately and consciously participate in the process of commercial image production has inspired a number of visual and performance artists. Some of her performance art work has additionally drawn on her experience as an adult performer.
Music was used in a few of Tutti's performance art. The use of music led to Tutti's interest in the concept of 'acceptable' music and she went on to explore the use of sound as a means of physical pleasure or pain. In 1976 she co-founded the group Throbbing Gristle with Chris Carter, Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge. The group disbanded in 1981.
Following the disbanding of Throbbing Gristle, Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson went on to form Psychic TV, while Tutti and Chris Carter continued to record together under the moniker Chris and Cosey. In honour of the dawn of the twenty-first century, Chris and Cosey changed their stage name to Carter Tutti. In 2004, after twenty three years apart, all four original members of Throbbing Gristle reunited, and issued a new 12" recording, TG Now. The band continued to collaborate sporadically, and began to perform live shows together for the first time in over two decades. In April 2009, Throbbing Gristle toured the US, appearing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and playing shows in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
In October 2010, Throbbing Gristle began a European tour; however, following the band's first tour date at the London Village Underground venue, London, on 23 October Throbbing Gristle's website announced that Genesis P-Orridge was no longer willing to perform with the band, and would return to his home in New York. Chris, Cosey and Peter finished the tour without P-Orridge, under the name X-TG.
Carter and Tutti performed with Nik Colk Void of Factory Floor at Mute's Short Circuit Festival in May 2011. A live album of the show, with an additional studio track, was released as Transverse in 2012, under the name Carter Tutti Void.
Tutti continues to release solo recordings, including a retrospective deluxe box set with a large number of photos and text, called Time To Tell, and she continues to work as a performance artist in the Dada tradition. She co-edited (with Richard Birkett) and published (Koenig Books, 2012), Maria Fusco's Cosey Complex, is the first major publication to discuss and theorise Tutti as methodology.
Excluding Throbbing Gristle, Carter Tutti or Chris & Cosey releases.
- Time To Tell (1983 Flowmotion)
- Nicki (1983 AQM) [with John Duncan and Chris Carter]
- Electronic Ambient Remixes 4: Selflessness (2004 Conspiracy International)
- Mist While Sleeping (2010 Dirter Promotions) [with Philippe Petit]
- Carter Tutti Void 'f (x)
- A Study In Scarlet (1986 Conspiracy International)