Toilets / Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan

Opening in October 2021, The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self) is the artists’ first–ever permanent commission, and includes bespoke, hand–glazed ceramic tiles which draw from Tatham and O’Sullivan’s key motifs, in particular staring, cartoon–like faces.

Positioning their work within the context of a public toilet, the artists’ vibrantly coloured installation employs humour and the absurdity of the unexpected as a strategy for both disruption and generosity.

Working across sculpture, installation, performance, and publishing, Tatham and O’Sullivan have developed a distinctive visual language that is rich in content and attitude. Employing the images, objects and histories of art and visual culture – such as standing stones, Op-art designs and hieroglyphics – the artists’ scrutinise and challenge the conventions by which art is expected to function, be valued and displayed.

Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan (b. 1971/1967, West Yorkshire/Norfolk) have collaborated since 1995. The duo emerged out of an important generation of Glasgow–based artists who brought international attention to Scotland’s contemporary art scene, and have staged significant commissions at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2018); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2017) and Tramway, Glasgow (2014; 2010; 2001). In 2005 they represented Scotland at the 51st Venice Biennale. This commission is a culmination of Studio Voltaire’s long–standing relationship with Tatham and O’Sullivan, having collaborated on projects together since 2004. Tatham and O’Sullivan are represented by The Modern Institute / Toby Webster Ltd (Glasgow).

Supported by

Image credits
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, THE STORY OF HOW WE CAME TO BE HERE, WHAT WE DID BEFORE WE GOT HERE, HOW YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN WHY YOU ASKED US HERE AND WHY WE CANNOT REMEMBER WHY WE CAME, OR: IS THIS WHAT BRINGS THINGS INTO FOCUS?, 2012. Courtesy of the artists; The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow; and Studio Voltaire, London. Photo: Andy Keate
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, Are You LOCATIONALIZED, 2014 Installation view, North Uist and Isle of Skye, Commissioned by ATLAS Arts, 2014. Courtesy the Artists and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photo: Ruth Clark
Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, A Proposal To Ask Where Does A Threshold Begin & End, 2018, Installation view, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, 2018. Courtesy the Artists and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photo: Colin Davison

Production: Craven Dunhill Jackfield
Lighting: Oliver Hill