Joanne Tatham & Tom O'Sullivan


Studio Voltaire together with Bloomberg presented DOES THE IT STICK, a special offsite commission with Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan at Bloomberg SPACE, London.

Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan have worked collaboratively since 1995, creating works that are choreographed situations; using objects, text, images and performance to consider and critique the status, value and role of contemporary art. These works are made directly in response to the situations within which the artists are invited to work, whilst maintaining and acknowledging the artists’ roles as ambivalent outsiders. Recent works have considered, in particular, how contemporary art can be expected to function in an instrumentalist role in relation to the diverse agendas of both the public and commercial realms. Their works often use text in performed, spoken or published form with, in many ways, their sculptures acting as necessary foils within these wider configurations.

For their Studio Voltaire commission at Bloomberg SPACE, Tatham & O’Sullivan developed a work engaging both with the site of Bloomberg and the context of the commission. This new work transposed DOES THE IT FIT, a project produced in response to Stephenson Works, a regeneration site in Newcastle-upon Tyne, to Bloomberg in London. Tatham & O’Sullivan developed this strategy through a six-week production residency at Studio Voltaire, producing a single work involving multiple elements, which react with and respond to Bloomberg’s corporate identity. Using discursive lines of enquiry, Tatham & O’Sullivan explore and challenge the conventions of architecture and space, the sharing of information and its value, and the constructs of the gallery space, as well as the wider corporate model. The commission also included artworks by Gary Webb and Tobias Rehberger that were previously produced by Bloomberg’s commissioning programme.

Over the last decade, Studio Voltaire has worked with Tatham & O’Sullivan on a number of exhibitions and projects, having presented a solo exhibition at the gallery in 2005, an offsite project in 2006 and a solo performance last year.

  1. Joanne Tatham (b. 1971, West Yorkshire) & Tom O’Sullivan (b. 1967, Norfolk) live and work in Newcastle. Solo exhibitions include: DOES THE IT FIT, co-curated by Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, CIRCA Projects, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (2012); A tool for the making of signs, Chapter, Cardiff (2012); 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?, Performance, Studio Voltaire, London (2012); Direct serious action is therefore necessary, CCA, Glasgow (2010); You can take it as a thing or you can take it as a thing, La Salle de Bains, Lyon (2009); and Oh we will, we will, will we, Studio Voltaire, London (2005).

  2. Waste Not Want It, Tour with Sigrid Kirk, 15 May 2014

    Sigrid Kirk, Director and Co-founder of curatorial and cultural production agency Arts Co led a tour of works commissioned as part of Bloomberg’s Waste Not Want It programme. Waste Not Want It provides a platform for some of the UK’s most dynamic designers and brings innovative ideas about recycling into Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London. Twenty-six artists and designers have created work in the office to date. Commissioned by Bloomberg Philanthropy LP the installations include lighting, decorative wall panels, seating and meeting areas for daily use by the 2,500 employees in the building. Arts Co are curators of the Waste Not Want It commissions. They develop bespoke cultural projects such as art and design exhibitions, artist in residence programmes, theatre projects, film programmes, fashion insight programmes and a range of VIP and cultural programmes across art, design, theatre, fashion and film – for brands and individuals.

    Poetry in the Pantry, 23 May 2014

    Poetry in the Pantry was a poetry reading, with poems selected by Tatham & O’Sullivan to accompany their work. The event took place within Bloomberg’s first floor Pantry, an informal gathering place for employees to step away from their desks, grab a drink or a snack and catch up with colleagues.

    Errors Hit Orient, 30 May 2014

    Errors Hit Orient was a collaborative music performance by typographer Will Holder and artist Chris Evans. The performance took football match newspaper reviews written by BS Johnson and set them to musical accompaniment, with Evans playing bass and Holder reciting the match reviews.

    Rainbows and Real Estate, 13 June 2014

    Fiona Jardine’s scripted visual presentation Rainbows and Real Estate analysed a series of industry adverts for TVs and cameras in terms of their relationship to the environments they depict.

  3. Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, DOES THE IT STICK, 2014. Installation View, Bloomberg SPACE, London. A Studio Voltaire commission. Courtesy of the artists, Bloomberg SPACE, London and Studio Voltaire, London. Photo: Dave Morgan.

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