British artist Cosey Fanni Tutti has been challenging the boundaries of contemporary art and sound for over four decades, perhaps most famously as a founding member of the avant-garde band Throbbing Gristle, a group that spawned the industrial musical movement and whose influence continues to resonate today.
Art Sex Music is Tutti’s recently released and much celebrated autobiography and provides an intimate and unflinching insight into her life and work. It traces her origins as part of the notorious performance art collective Coum Transmissions which sprung out of late sixties counterculture of Hull, England and her involvement in music as part of Throbbing Gristle and later as half of the electronic innovators Chris and Cosey along side her experiences in the pornographic modelling industry and art world.
Tutti talked to Alea Balzer for Music 101 about the realities and personal repercussions of making provocative art as a woman, the tensions and turmoil within Throbbing Gristle, finding love, and the journey from being condemned as the pinnacle of obscenity to respectability. “Well they’re accepting something that was unacceptable at the time so I can accept that”, Tutti reflects.
Ultimately, the unifying ethos behind Tutti’s multi-faceted and prolific body of work is her manifesto ‘my life is my art my art is my life’. She explained the realities of this absolute integration of art in life to Music 101: “Laying yourself bare is the toughest part of your art being your life but the easiest part is when you actually do it because even if people criticise you or damn you for it, it’s just who you are and you’ve done it for truth and honesty at its core.”
“That’s all I aim for really. So I live my life like that and my art is part of it and it all feeds into one another.”