Tim Noble and Sue Webster – Nasty Projectionists

Nasty. There really isn’t another word to describe the works of Tim Noble and Sue Webster. The British duo have collaborated on projects since 1996 that have spanned the realms of light and shadow, illumination and the dark, yet are, for all intents and purposes, trash.

Dirty White Trash (With Gulls)

Dirty White Trash (With Gulls)

Don’t assume that this is any critique of the work from the connotation of the word. The artists may take the statement as a compliment. While Noble and Webster create many lighted sculptures, another oft-used medium of the pair is that of used goods (i.e. trash). The work that Noble and Webster display, however, is not just the created pile of trash (which in the case of Dirty White Trash was 6 collected months of the artists’ trash and a pair of dead seagulls), but the projection of the shadow of the work from a fixed position. Their first shadow sculpture, Miss Understood and Mr Meanor, drew huge crowds when they exhibited it in 1997.

Miss Understood and Mr Meanor

Miss Understood and Mr Meanor

Keeping with the theme of heads on pikes, Noble and Webster presented Dark Stuff over a decade later: another pair of unfortunate crania, this time crafted out of 189 mummified animals including rats, crows, and a fox.

Dark Stuff

Dark Stuff

The shadow work of the artists is not always as macabre as impaled, disembodied heads. Quite a bit of their work, both light and shadow, is lighthearted and easily relatable, or at the very least, uninterested in the topic of death, at least on the surface.

Wasted Youth

Wasted Youth

The Original Sinners

The Original Sinners

A common focus in their shadow sculptures are couples (Noble and Webster having been partners for some time before marrying in 2008 may have played a part in their subject matter), many which are seen as self portraits. Each work is painstakingly created out of innumerable pieces of trash, each painstakingly placed to ensure the shadow is created with striking detail. But not all of their works are based on a pair of lovers or compatriots. Sunset Over Manhattan brings a skyline to life out of aluminum cans, peppered with holes created by air pistols.

Sunset Over Manhattan

Sunset Over Manhattan

While each work is designed to be viewed from a certain perspective for the shadow to appear properly, not all works have a single shadow. For Cheap and Nasty, an electronic mechanism rotates the pair of faces between two different views. The work at once shows duality within a person, a being and a façade, each hidden in the shadow of the other.

Cheap and Nasty

Cheap and Nasty

Cheap and Nasty (alternate view)

Cheap and Nasty (alternate view)

Yet, at the very heart of their pieces, there is a universally dirty, yet natural and accepted, quality to their work.

HE/SHE

HE/SHE

Are Noble and Webster’s sculptures nasty, or are they just plain rubbish? Let us know below.

Article found via WebUrbanist.
Photos courtesy ofDeitch and Gagosian.
The artists’ personal webpage.

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