Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan: A tool for the making of signs
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan work in collaboration to produce provocative and interrogative works that are often concerned with the mythic potential of art.
Utilising sculpture, painting, architecture, performance, literature, institutional critique and curation, the artists re-stage and re-present a vocabulary of images, phrases and forms that are part of a common history to create carefully crafted paths, displacements and diversions. These act as a tool for exploring the world of art - with its own collective mythology of forms, objects and histories.
A tool for the making of signs was an exhibition commissioned by Chapter Gallery in December 2012 – February 2013 and contained a number of elements intended to challenge and confound easy interpretation, not least of which is the cartoon motif that appears on the lightbox.
The leaflet was produced to accompany the exhibition which also featured a large-scale dragon sculpture - presented in Tatham and O'Sullivan's particular cartoon stylisation. The work provoked particular resonances for Welsh national identity and operated as both analogy and counterpoint to the inclusion in the exhibition of two works by painter and modernist poet David Jones. By integrating his works into the structure itself, the artists asked us to consider how contemporary artists look back to previous artistic practices and incorporate this interest as part of a current discourse.
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan have worked collaboratively since 1995. Recent solo projects and exhibitions include Studio Voltaire, London (2012); Collective Gallery (offsite), Edinburgh (2011) and Tramway, Glasgow (both 2011); CCA, Glasgow (2010); La Salle de Bains (2009). They have been shortlisted for the 2013 Northern Art Prize and the exhibition of shortlisted artists – also featuring Emily Speed, Rosalind Nashashibi and Margaret Harrison - is at Leeds Art Gallery between 28 March and 16 June 2013. Tatham & O'Sullivan are represented by The Modern Institute/ Toby Webster, Glasgow; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich and Campoli Presti, London/Paris.