Tim Noble and Sue Webster at Blain Southern, Sticks With Dicks and Slits – Woo, busy in Hanover Square tonight, we’re in the West End for the first Thursday of February, deserted the East End for start of the month for the first time in years (and years), we were expecting a crowd but the big gallery is seriously packed for the opening night fron the duo….
“Tim Noble and Sue Webster return to Blain|Southern London to present a new body of sculptural works. In their third exhibition with the gallery, STICKS WITH DICKS AND SLITS, the duo present pairs of giant self-portraits. These stick figures are sculpted in twisted bronze, an entirely new method for the artists”
This as a big room, a seriously sized gallery space, really is rather difficult to get a clear view of the giant stick figures, the place is buzzing, this is good of course, an opening that’s buzzing, big crowds and sparkling smiles at art shows have to be good things don’t they? Art alive and people excited, there’s photographers everywhere, proper ones not just people with mobile phones, feels like the paparazzi are in here, calling out to grab people’s attention and such. Feels like fun in here, serious art, art with a touch of a smile though, a playful touch, a bit of an edge…
“Based on handmade maquettes made with electrical wire, the sculptures are an act of upscaling playful ephemera into physically domineering artworks with a permanency and scale that transcends human limitations…”
Giant stick figure sculptures over the heads of the crowds, almost walking in the sea of people, contrasting with the white walls and the bright lights, kind of feels like they want to crowd surf and run out into the street, go run through the traffic, they look like they’d make a lot of noise running in and out the buses and taxis of Oxford Street…
“The artists are well-known for reacting to circumstance. They find inspiration by walking city streets and making sculpture from materials closest to hand in an urban environment. In the past this has included inner city detritus, discarded personal objects and animal carcasses. However, the initial maquettes for this new body of work were created during a residency on the Caribbean island of St Bart’s. This idyllic environment was initially challenging for these urbanites who found themselves stripped of their usual impetus. Struggling with this creative impasse, they began doodling with electrical wire, quickly and intuitively producing two intimate self-portraits.”
“Part of a great tradition of artists-as-art, their personal image and the dynamic between them is an integral part of their work. As with previous self-portraits, these new paired sculptures express the artistic personae of the duo. One pair features nudes of Tim urinating and Sue lactating — engaging in basic bodily functions is a recurring motif for the artists. As much as they have used refuse in their sculptures, the artists employ their own naked forms as a way to make art with a rawness and truth, using their warts-and-all inseparable dual image as a tool to critique narcissistic obsession…”
On look, this is fun, watching the photographers is fun, the stick figures are fun, they look like they’re laughing at it all, like they’re almost taking the piss, like Johnny at his best, smiling at all the fuss they’re causing, flicking a v, like they’re going off and things, two people really enjoying each other. You do rather quickly stop thinking of them as pieces of static sculpture and start thinking of them as the actual artists, you imagine the figures (the artists, the stick figure artists) running around the gallery and mischievously pogoing to their favourite punk rock records once the doors are closed and the lights turned off, you start to think about it all being about the two of them, the two figures, the two people, the two artists and yes, this is fun, genitals and all…. Never mind the bollocks then, the two of them, slit and dick and all larger than life in a big white West End gallery having some fun… excellent (sw) .
The show runs (it does feel like they run) at Blain Southern until March 25th Find the big gallery at 4 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1BP (Just off Oxford Street)
Clcik on an image to enlarge or run the fractured slide show