Tim Noble & Sue Webster
Real Life Is Rubbish, 2002
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.
Dead White Trash (With Gulls), 1998, one of their earliest garbage pieces, is six months’ worth of peanut butter jars, soup cans, and other stuff from their kitchen rubbish can, plus a pair of dead seagulls. That it was the same six months it took to make the piece is more than a cute conceit. “As we were making it, we were eating and consuming,” says Noble. On the wall, the shadow figures of the artists take a break with a cigarette and a glass of wine. Real Life Is Rubbish, a recent work, is constructed from studio trash. “All our old tools,” explains Webster. “I was using a screwdriver, and it made my nose look great, so I used it. So we eventually ran out of tools.”
Dirty White Trash (With Gulls), 1998