Geoffrey FarmerThe Last Two Million Years 2007

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Artwork details

Geoffrey Farmer (born 1967)
The Last Two Million Years
Date 2007
MediumPaper cutouts from selected pages of the history book The Last Two Million Years, foamcore plinths, perspex frames, marb
Lent by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, courtesy of the North American Acquisitions Committee 2010
On long term loan
Not on display


This work is a large-scale installation, the main components of which are cut paper figures displayed in various configurations on a series of foam core plinths and in thirty-two framed wall-mounted collages. The paper elements were made by cutting out every image in a 500-page anthology of human history entitled The Last Two Million Years. This book was first published in 1973 by Reader’s Digest, with major contributions by the British Museum. Farmer was inspired to make the work after finding a copy of the book lying in the street.

In Farmer’s installation, the images are arranged in a variety of scenarios and friezes. The arrangement does not follow a traditional chronology but instead features a series of subjective and allusive mise-en-scene that disrupt conventional notions of historical agency and linear time. One long, narrow plinth presents a series of historical personages arranged according to size of their illustrations. In other sections, depictions of landscapes serve as backdrops to constructed meetings between characters from vastly different regions and eras… (read more)

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