Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s works invariably present a form of self-portraiture, be it through silhouetted shadows of the artist themselves – some of the most recognisable pieces in their oeuvre – or through references to the everyday cultural environments that they occupy.
Nihilistic Optimistic references the duo's 2012 exhibition at Blain|Southern in London. A fittingly dualistic title, Nihilistic Optimistic responds to the oppositional forces present within their work. Here, cool flickering neon lights oscillate to illuminate the two words and indicate a paradigm, which is at once constructive and destructive, hopeful and despairing with the alteration of the neon. Light and shadow, figuration and abstraction co-exist in a constant state of tension as the words materialise and then disappear before our eyes.