Art Review: Tim Noble & Sue Webster @ Blain|Southern

The artistic duo, Noble & Webster, present their first solo show in six years with six assemblages of what appear to be piles of junk. Position a light at the right angle and distance and silhouettes of the artists themselves are revealed.

It’s a remarkable feat that will have visitors wondering how it’s even possible that a seemingly random assortment of broken chair parts and other studio detritus can form such a perfect representation of the artists right down to their individual hair styles.

The most impressive work is ‘self imposed misery’ where no flaw can be found in the proportions of the silhouette yet the sculpture that creates this impression is the most chaotic of those on display.

Also of note is ‘Nasty Pieces of Work’ where Webster’s silhouette is accompanied by the outline of a discarded arm hanging from a workbench. The sculpture itself includes blades and sharp objects providing a sense of being in the workshop of a modern day Frankenstein, where spare body parts lie unused.

These works may be seen either as a comment on how discarded objects can prove to be useful or that we are all a melange of individual parts which only prosper in specific circumstances.

The exhibition is remarkable achievement of design and patience that will both amaze viewers and have them wondering what contribution each individual part makes to the silhouettes.

Tim Noble & Sue Webster: Nihilistic Optimistic is on display at Blain|Southern until 24 November. Admission is free.

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Tabish Khan 2

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  • anon

    Not really art, is it. Though it must have taken a very long time to get right.

    • Tomo

      If you have to ask if it is, it is.

      • Anonny

        Bollocks, Some things are and somethings aren’t.
        Interesting yes, When a carnival comes to town people like to stare at the oddities. is a carnival art.
        this kind of thing needs a better definition spectacles aren’t necessarily ART!

        • http://twitter.com/LondonArtCritic Tabish Khan

          The debate has raged on endlessly for hundreds of years and I don’t think there’ll ever be a definitive answer of what is art.
          If you go for the simple definition of a process that results in an end product that people enjoy or find aesthetically pleasing, then everything becomes art – some sick individuals would consider bear baiting an art.If it’s about mass appeal and emotional investment/enjoyment, then arguably Transformers 3 by revenue alone is a masterpiece.
          To counter this, some people have even attempted to define art by going down the slippery slope of claiming that it can only be appreciated by those of higher education.

          In summary, everyone will have a different view of what art is, and a universal definition will never be reached – though it is a good topic for a spirited debate :)