Artists’ run spaces reinvigorate the gallery

Opening on 4 July at Eastside Projects in Birmingham, a solo show by Glasgow based artists Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan. The collaborative duo have made a new work which through its very naming, Does your contemplation of the situation fuck with the flow of circulation, clearly, eloquently and aggressively, introduces the duo’s playful, provocative and interrogative art practice. Tatham and O’Sullivan have been creating work since 1995 that is concerned with the mythic potential of art, and how art can exist as an event in a particular space and time.

Embodying the concept of interdisciplinary their work is situated between and utilising, sculpture, painting, architecture, photography, performance, literature, institutional critique and curation. The artists’ works use carefully crafted paths, displacements and diversions as strategies for synthesising the concept of culture as a localised system of meanings and the world of art – seen as a community.

Does your contemplation… is a complex re-presenting of the artists’ rhetoric as a new construct, tackling the fact that the artists’ most significant works exist in the form of an exhibition. While an exhibition may be comprised of a number of ‘pieces’, it is the choreography or curation of these pieces that needs to be read as the work-construct. Eastside Projects’ very particular state of reflexive performativity as a venue, and context within which to make a new work, provides the artists with an opportunity to test out new strategies as a public process of re-analysis.

Tatham and O’Sullivan consider Eastside Projects a non-standard gallery and are treating it as a found site, working “on top of” the venue with components that form the exhibition as a series of objects (or constructed artefacts) designed to challenge the function and status of the venue and its contents. The objects consist of a new architectural construction, a large patterned Z-shaped tunnel which can be entered and passed through, positioned centrally amongst elements that adapt and reclaim the artists’ existing tropes with a new development in the form of a digital projection sequencing colour manipulated photographs interwoven with an innate rhetorical question.

The artists are opening up the language that they use in order to better fashion an exhibition to make the viewer aware of their own thinking processes – an environment to highlight consciousness. Very exciting work.

The exhibition runs from 4 July until 6 September.

Image credit © Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan