Tim Noble & Sue Webster

 Tim Noble & Sue Webster 

Tim Noble and Sue Webster are London-based artists whose work combines assemblage, light, shadow and humor. 

As Nick Cave writes in the introduction of their 2011 book British Rubbish, the art of Tim Noble & Sue Webster needs little explanation:

The work stands before us – powerful, potent, funny and subversive. There is a danger that words would diminish it. 
Dirty White Trash (With Gulls) - Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 1998 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com
Dirty White Trash (With Gulls) – Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 1998 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com

6 months’ worth of artists’ trash, 2 taxidermy seagulls, light projector.

They aggregate objects and debris into self-deprecating works that bridge two realities. At first glance, we see jumbled piles of trash, the familiar by-products of a throw-away society. The piles evoke the aftermath of a binge, the hangover from a party that went on too long. We soon discover, however, that the piles are in fact precise constructions that cast crisp, figurative shadows under directed light – artworksforchange.org. 

Wasted Youth - Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 2000 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com
Wasted Youth – Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 2000 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com
Trash, replica food, McDonalds packaging, wood, light projector.

The trash and detritus in these works is real and immediate; it is in our face, a rejection of our usual “out of sight, out of mind” approach to waste management. And by shining a light on these “anti-monuments,” the artists literally expose the people who are behind this mess. 

Miss Understood & Mr Meanor – Tim Noble & Sue Webster 1997 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com 

Trash and personal items, wood, light projector, light sensor

The silhouettes we see are masterful self-portraits and a confession of the artists’ own role in the rubbish revolution. But these projections also symbolize the elusiveness of accountability, as our brains struggle to perceive the trash piles as the culmination of the small choices we make every day. 

Wild Mood Swings –  Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 2009-10 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com  
2 wooden stepladders, discarded wood, light projector

Throughout their careers, the artists have collected the cast offs of others, building a stockpile of broken furniture, stepladders, crates, and other discarded goods. They salvaged these items for unknown future uses, refusing to acknowledge them as waste. And as they transform these rescued items into increasingly-abstract and spatial feats of portraiture, they give us hope that ingenuity and creative reuse can light the path to human progress.        

From F*** to Trash – Tim Noble & Sue Webster, 2000 www.timnobleandsuewebster.com  

Tim Noble & Sue Webster© Shooters Photography


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