Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shadow Illusions

Here is a series of shadow illusions by Tim Noble and Sue Webster. A 2003 press release describes them thusly,
Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Partners in both life and art, Tim Noble (1966) and Sue Webster (1967) explore the toxic influences of consumer culture through new modes of portraiture. Turning garbage into complex and visually arresting sculptural installations, Noble and Webster exploit, manipulate and transform base materials, often using self-portraiture to undermine the “celebrated” authorship of the artist.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster
Dirty White Trash [With Gulls] ©1998
Six months' worth of the artists' rubbish

Tim Noble and Sue Webster
Real Life is Rubbish, ©2002

Joe La Placa of Artnet had the following to say about the next two installations,
"Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s aptly titled exhibition, “Modern Art is Dead,” is an irreverent version of a shadowy Plato's Cave. Riding on the wake of their successful solo exhibition at P.S.1 in New York, the naughty couple continue to astound audiences with their transgressive alchemy of light, shadow -- and scraps of steel!

In the bawdily titled The Crack, we enter a dark room where an assemblage of welded steel scraps stands in the middle of the gallery like a lonely Giacometti figure.

A light source in front of the sculpture casts a halo of light -- and a crack-like shadow -- against the wall behind it.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster
The Crack ©2004
(installation view)
Modern Art, London

Initially confounding (most tend to see the shadow as a positive space) we realize that the shadow is the negative space between two standing nude figures facing each other -- self-portraits by Noble and Webster.

The main work in the show, HE/SHE, is far more explicit -- there's no hiding in the shadowy crevices.

Two modernist-looking steel sculptures produce distinct silhouettes of the artists -- taking a piss! Could this be the artist’s commentary on modernism, a metaphorical marking of art turf?

Tim Noble and Sue Webster
HE/SHE ©2003
(installation view)
Modern Art, London

I loved the skill needed to create these fascinating shadow self-portraits. They obviously are very passionate about their art. But they don't just do shadow illusions here is a word illusion very much like the one in this post.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster
" " ©2003

I'll let you fill in the title of this piece.


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