Tim Noble & Sue WebsterFollow
Nihilistic Optimistic10 October 2012 - 24 November 2012, (Blain|Southern, London, UK) Learn more
GalleriesContact for physical artwork enquiries
Tim Noble (1966, Stroud, UK) and Sue Webster (1967, Leicester, UK) met as Fine Art students at Nottingham Trent University in 1986 where they both arrived a day late for class.
The artists have officially collaborated since 1996 and are associated with the post-YBA (Young British Artist) generation of artists. Noble and Webster’s artistic persona, along with their status as a couple, is intrinsic to the meaning of their works.
Formally, their art can be deconstructed into ‘Light Works’ and ‘Shadow Works’, although these two categories remain directly related. The Shadow Works consist primarily of sculptures incorporating diverse materials such as household rubbish, scrap metal and taxidermy animals; by shining light onto these assemblages they are transformed into highly accurate shadow profile portraits.
The light sculptures are constructed using computer-sequenced light bulbs that perpetually flash, sending out messages of consumerism, love and hate — often simultaneously. These works reference the iconic pop culture symbols that are communicated through the mass media in Britain and America, as well as recalling the carnival shows and neon signage typical of working-class sea-side Britain, Piccadilly Circus, and Las Vegas.
Punk music has been a strong influence on both Webster and Noble, who states: ‘I think anything that’s a bit of a rocket up the arse, anything that kicks against the routine, against the mundane things that close down your mind, is a refreshing and good thing. Punk did that very successfully.’ Webster was even one of the six people shortlisted to host the 1980s cult music programme 'The Tube'.
Since their first solo show in London, British Rubbish (1996), Noble and Webster have enjoyed international recognition. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; Artis-François Pinault, France; Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens; The Goss-Michael Collection, Dallas; Honart Museum, Tehran, Iran; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Portrait Gallery, London; The Olbricht Collection, Berlin; Project Space 176–The Zabludowicz Collection, London; Saatchi Collection, London; Samsung Museum, Seoul, Korea; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Publications of the artists’ work include Polymorphous Perverse, a catalogue of their Freud Museum exhibition (London: Other Criteria, 2008), and Wasted Youth, a comprehensive survey of the artists' work from 1996 to 2006 with essays by Jeffrey Deitch and Sir Norman Rosenthal (New York: Rizzoli, 2006). A new publication, British Rubbish, will be published by Rizzoli in Autumn, 2011.
In 2009, they were awarded Honorary Doctor of Arts degrees at Nottingham Trent University in recognition of their contribution to contemporary British Art.
- Nihilistic Optimistic (Blain|Southern, London, UK)
- Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb The Pace Gallery, New York, NY
- Turning the Seventh Corner Blain|Southern Berlin, DE
- The Head of Isabella Blow National Portrait Gallery (solo room), London, UK
- 20 Modern Classics Triumph Gallery, Moscow, RU
- Tim Noble & Sue Webster The Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas, US
- Electric Fountain Rockefeller Plaza, New York, US
- Sacrificial Heart Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, UK
- Serving Suggestion The Wrong Gallery, Tate Modern, London, UK
- Polymorphous Perverse The Freud Museum, London, UK
- The Glory Hole Bortolami Dayan, New York, US
- Tim Noble & Sue Webster Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, US
- Modern Art is Dead Modern Art, London, UK
- Tim Noble & Sue Webster P.S.1. MoMA, New York, US
- Instant Gratification Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, US
- Masters of the Universe Deste Foundation, Athens, GR
- WOW, Modern Art London, UK
- British Rubbish Independent Art Space, London, UK