Work by Cleo Mussi

Pharma's Market: A Livestock and Produce Show

Cleo Mussi

Exhibited from 4 July - 21 August, 2010

We invite you to enter the weird and wonderful, strange and surreal world of Cleo Mussi's Pharma's Market!

The Summer exhibition at The Museum in the Park Gallery is a mosaic installation by Cleo Mussi, the culmination of a two-year research project exploring the contrasting imagery of historical and contemporary farming.

Pharma's Market is a quirky re-interpretation of the traditional agricultural fair, once the key annual event for rural communities across the country. Visitors will encounter life size farm animals and farm produce, and idyllic folk farmers and milk maids. Images from bygone times are juxtaposed with modern 'test tube farmers' and 'factory robots' modifying the genetic structures of animals and plants. Characters to meet include a giant robot rabbit, bunny babe and babies, three scientists, a mad sheepdog and Great Aunt Jane's Chickens. Stop awhile in the flower arranging section to admire mosaic posies, bunches and bouquets, view the rosette prizes and proud displays of prize fruit and veg as well as children's 'gardens in a bowl'. Watch out for some very strange genetically modified creatures in Pets' Corner!

Cleo Mussi has an engaging story to tell, and her characters, from life-sized ‘robo-rabbits’ to ‘space scientists’ and ‘bucolic’ farmers, all jostle for their part in the plot. Her stories are derived from the real world of science and medicine, albeit reconstructed through the process of her own particular visual imagination. Using recycled china to make her extraordinary figures, her surreal sense of humour is where she has made her mark. It’s as if the pieces of china she painstakingly chips at become fragments of DNA in her own genetic rearrangements of nature.

This engaging and thought provoking exhibition opened at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester last Autumn, and shows here in Cleo's home town of Stroud before setting off on a national tour.

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