Art in the toilet

Korean artist Meekyoung Shin has made it her mission to take art out of the gallery… and into the toilet.

At Yorkshire Sculpture Park
At Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Shin’s Toilet Project sees the artist install a series of statues in the bathrooms of 16 galleries and museums across the UK.

Shin is known for her work recreating Eastern and Western Classical statues in relief, and for the Toilet Project she has decided to use soap as her material, which is very hygienic.

At the Oriental Museum, Durham
At the Oriental Museum, Durham

And toilet-users are being encouraged to use the statues to help them wash their hands, which, over the three-month period they are being installed, will lead to a natural ‘weathering’ affect.

The soap statues are in place until October at galleries including Birmingham’s IKON Gallery, The Scottish National Museum of Modern Art and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

At IKON Gallery, Birmingham
At IKON Gallery, Birmingham

The ‘weathered’ statues will then be brought together for the Translation Museum exhibition at the Korean Cultural Centre in London in November.

At Craft Study Centre, Farnham
At Craft Study Centre, Farnham

Toilet Project is at Cass Sculpture Foundation, the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow, Craft Study Centre in Farnham, Edinburgh International Festival, FACT Liverpool, Grund Art Gallery, The Holbourne Museum, IKON Birmingham, the Korean Cultural Centre, Lakeside Art Centre, Leach Pottery, the National Museum for Craft and Design, Oriental Museum in Durham, Russell-Coates Art Gallery & Museum, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park until October.

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  • Tim Molloy November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I love this project for the number of different responses it conjures as a consequence of it’s siting in the ‘how am I supposed to behave’ loaded environment of the museum.

    Can I really touch? Will I ‘catch’ something? Could I perversely catch something while following good hygiene practice?

    Congratulations Meekyoung Shin on a beautifully observed and realised piece

  • Mark Wayan November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Perfect example of nonsense art: Instead of figuring out a work based on what we’ve learned by now in public buildings, regarding how people should wash their hands (not sharing soap with thousands of strangers) this is a formalist one-trick artist who thought by doing the work in soap and placing it in a bathroom that would become “practice” related to a concept and so on. Silly. Designers shouldn’t try to discuss art and probably vice-versa.

  • Robert Howard November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Used the head in a loo at the Lakeside Art Centre, Nottingham, today. Great fun, more novelty soap than art – the kind of thing I was given as a kid sixty-odd years ago to encourage me to wash my hands. Can I have a London RT bus next time please? Is it art? No. Is it original? No, but I liked it being there and I used it.

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