Tim Noble And Sue Webster Assemble Trash Heaps That Project Images Of Gluttony

Tim Noble and Sue Webster - Sculpture Tim Noble and Sue Webster - Sculpture Tim Noble and Sue Webster - Sculpture Tim Noble and Sue Webster - Sculpture

Tim Noble and Sue Webster are a creative duo who assemble trash heaps that project shadows of recognizable—and often grotesque—forms: lumps of scrap metal cast the shapes of fornicating rats, and elsewhere shattered wood pieces align into a bickering couple. As a critique of human consumption and waste, their work falls under the category of “Gluttony” in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9: “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Also featured in Book 9 are Tom Dilly Littleson’s wrathful portraits of self-mutilation (who we wrote about last August) and illustrator Brendan Danielsson’s crude, bloated portraits of sloth.

The concept of gluttony in Noble and Webster’s works arises from the idea of “perceptual psychology,” which concerns itself with how humans identify and interpret images. As it states on their biography page:

“Noble and Webster are familiar with this process and how people evaluate abstract forms. Throughout their careers they have played with the idea of how humans perceive abstract images and define them with meaning. The result is surprising and powerful as it redefines how abstract forms can transform into figurative ones.” (Source)

The junk heaps and their shadows produce startlingly different (yet somehow thematically similar) images—a ball of congealed road kill, for example, projects a human head impaled on a stake. This disparity compels the viewer to produce an interpretation and discern how the images are related. Bridging the gap, one may read the figurative signs of human over-indulgence, waste, and destruction.

To learn more about Noble and Webster and how other contemporary artists explore the seven deadly sins, grab a copy of Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9. Limited copies are still available at our shop.

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Tim Noble And Sue Webster’s British Rubbish


Tim Noble And Sue Webster make art that directly addresses the waste and aesthetic vulgarity of advanced consumerism and repositions the litter and gaudiness as a powerful visual allegory of human mortality, love and hope. The duo’s recent monograph British Rubbish, showcases their work from 1996 to present day in all its meticulously crafted glory— including the die cut book cover itself revealing the portraits of the artists.

Extravagant, irreverent, and always sharply clever, British Rubbish is both a paean to and sly denunciation of conspicuous consumption.

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