Geoffrey Farmer

Over more than two decades, Geoffrey Farmer (b. 1967, Vancouver; lives/works: Kauai, Hawaii) has developed a complex body of work that incorporates drawing, collage, sculpture, film, video, performance, and writing to produce site-specific, often set-like installations that draw heavily from the artist’s memory, popular culture, history, and a breadth of references from literature and film. This approach produces a constellation of images and ideas from disparate sources and time periods. For dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012, Farmer produced a grand installation, Leaves of Grass, comprised of cut-out historical images from LIFE magazine, each propped on individual blades of Miscanthus grass, and assembled together like a tumbleweed of history, accruing events and figures alongside household items and other quotidian objects from decades of American advertisements, rolling along a skinny plinth for 124 feet. For the Canada Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, Farmer dismantled much of the building (as it was undergoing restoration) and produced a meditative installation filled with cast bronze objects and sculptures centred around a geyser-shooting fountain. Titled A way out of the mirror, after a line by poet Allen Ginsberg, the work reflected on Farmer’s role as an artist with respect to his own family history, and the history of the Italian-designed pavilion, and its relationship to the colonial history of his own country.

Farmer graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver, in 1992, and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991. In 2017, he represented Canada at the 57th Venice Biennale. He has presented solo exhibitions at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2017); The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2016); Vancouver Art Gallery (2015); Art Gallery of Ontario (2014); Pérez Art Museum, Miami, and Kunstverein in Hamburg (2014); Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich and Nottingham Contemporary (2013); The Curve Gallery, Barbican, London (2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2011); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2008); The Drawing Room, London, UK (2007) and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2005). Farmer has recently been included in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2017, 2014); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2016); The Louvre, Paris (2015); Triennale der Kleinplastik, Fellbach, Germany (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012); and the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011).