Soap sculpture cleans up in Bath as Meekyoung Shin toilet tour visits the Holburne

By Culture24 Reporter | 24 July 2013

Meekyoung Shin, a South Korean artist who lives and works in Seoul and London and trained at the Slade School of Art, has a reputation for creating soap imitations of antiquities.

A photo of a bust made out of soap next to basins in a public toilet
Soapy sculptures on a toilet tour in Bath
Her latest sanitary busts, in the toilets of The Holburne Museum in Bath, are helping visitors clean up as part of The Toilet Project, a 15-date tour of Shin's works in toilets.

They started at the Edinburgh International Festival and will continue to Blackpool’s Grundy, the CASS Sculpture Foundation in Chichester and Yorkshire Sculpture Park before finishing up at the Korean Cultural Centre in London.

After moving to London, Shin, who trained in classical traditions of European sculpture, became fascinated by objects placed on vitrines and plinths away from the institutions they were originally held by.

She uses soap because of its close resemblance to marble, seeing its relatively swift disintegration as a rapid version of the effects of time on sculptures made in traditional materials.

Organisers at the Holburne say the palm-free vegetarian soap is “going down well” with visitors, although they admit some uncertainty over how much of the sculptures will remain when they are collected in October.

More pictures:

A photo of a woman handling a bust made out of soap next to basins in a public toilet
Suzannah Angelo-Sparling, of the museum, takes a look at the bathroom bust
A photo of a bust made out of soap next to basins in a public toilet
The sculpture's tour has ranged from Glasgow to St Ives
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