Studio Voltaire


Craven Dunnill Jackfield and British artistic duo, Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, have created a public art installation for the newly renovated Studio Voltaire in South London, which opened in October 2021.

The Institute For The Magical Effect Of Actually Giving A Shit (a note to our future self) is a vibrant installation appearing across three public toilets in Studio Voltaire’s South London building. Featuring bespoke hand-glazed ceramic tiles by Craven Dunnill Jackfield, the installation uses ten unique glazes across the overall scheme. Designed by Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, the piece employs both humour and the absurdity of the unexpected as a strategy for both disruption and generosity.

Two of the toilets make use of a limited, contrasting colour range while the third culminates in waterjet cut friezes with staring cartoon-like faces, a recurring motif in both artists’ work. Intersecting with the surrounding sanitaryware, the sink becomes a mouth when placed below two staring ceramic eyes while another tiled pattern surrounds the toilet like a throne. Outside the toilets, a decorative, hand-painted mural of the commission’s title connects the three rooms.

Supported by the Art Fund, the art installation is one of two new commissions at Studio Voltaire.


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.


Studio Voltaire is one of the UK’s leading not–for–profit arts organisations. Its pioneering public programmes of exhibitions, participation projects, live events and offsite commissions have gained an international reputation. Studio Voltaire has an outstanding track record of supporting artists at a pivotal stage in their careers, championing emerging and underrepresented artists and placing a great emphasis on risk–taking and experimentation. Many commissions are an artist’s first solo exhibition in London or the UK.

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