Key facts about the artist


Produce sculptures, performance, drawings and photographs, written works, exhibitions and events
West Yorkshire / Norfolk
Worked Collaboratively
Since 1995
Northern Art Prize Shortlist 2013
Venice Biennale


Video : Art in Scotland TV - Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan : Generation at Tramway

Video: Joanne Tatham & Tom O'Sullivan at Glasgow Tramway, 2014

About Joanne and Tom's work

Contemporary art often seems to operate according to a set of unspoken rules. Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan’s work explores such conventions by exposing them, breaking them or sometimes sticking with them to the point of absurdity. Working together since 1995, they produce sculptures, performance, drawings and photographs, written works, exhibitions and events. They often make and remake their artworks in new forms and places so they act as sets or props, which can be arranged and rearranged to draw attention to what art does and how it works.

In recent years Tatham and O’Sullivan have extended their work to curating projects and events that focus attention on their contexts. DOES THE IT FIT with CIRCA Projects, Newcastle upon Tyne took place at the Stephenson Works, a building once at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and now at the centre of an area of urban redevelopment. The project brought their works together with that of other artists including Chris Evans and John Smith.

For GENERATION, Tatham and O’Sullivan have worked with ATLAS Arts to make a new work that spans the neighbouring islands of Skye and North Uist. In Portree, the artists have created a sculptural construction around the folly on the hill where the annual Skye Games take place. At Taigh Chearsabhagh Arts Centre on North Uist they are showing photographs of public sculptures from both Uist and Loughborough University campus. These presentations exist alongside a programme of events that, taken as a whole, will call attention to the role of art in place and in public and question how it can be expected to engage with issues of cultural identity and access.

At Tramway their work revisits HK, their 2001 exhibition at that venue. Large black sculptural letters spelt out the words ‘Heroin Kills’, an apparently simple statement, that like many of Tatham and O’Sullivan’s works was anything but. Rather it presented the unresolved tensions and questions surrounding the making and exhibiting of art. The new work considers the context of GENERATION and this earlier work, drawing attention to the mechanisms of myth-making within and through art.


Joanne Tatham (born 1971 in West Yorkshire) and Tom O’Sullivan (born 1967 in Norfolk) have worked together as a collaborative duo since 1995 and met while undertaking their MFA degrees at The Glasgow School of Art. Tatham graduated with a PhD from the University of Leeds in 2004. They have exhibited at Tramway, Glasgow; Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland; Studio Voltaire, London; and Eastside Projects, Birmingham. They represented Scotland at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 and were shortlisted for the Northern Art Prize in 2013. They are currently living and working in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and Glasgow.

More information

Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, Amongst other things an unsuccessful proposal for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, CCA, Glasgow/ Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2013

Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan: A Charming Meaning, A Solid Meaning, A Struggling Meaning, The Modern Institute / Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow and DuMont Literatur und Kunst, Cologne, 2007