Tim Noble Steps Out On His Own in London
With his wife and collaborator Sue Webster, Tim Noble is known for inventive sculptures that often cast unexpected shadows — like a contorted assemblage of banana-yellow penises that, on the wall, reads as a much more refined double silhouette of two faces. For Frieze Week, Noble is going solo, presenting a new sculpture that he made sans Webster at The Door (an always-open-to-the-public space described as “literally a doorway on Ingestre Place, Soho, which will rotate its exhibitions on a monthly basis”). The piece is called “Half Cast,” and it depicts a single human body composed of the top half of Webster and the bottom half of Noble. The figure’s head is obscured by a bag; the male-female hybrid wears a T-shirt emblazoned with the word S.C.U.M. (which is not an insult, but rather the name of a defunct London band that Webster and Noble have directed videos for).
Noble described his marital art-making practice as being “about two opposite forces working together. In many ways I needed steering in a certain direction, and so did Sue.” (He was quick to point out that the duo is still actively a duo, and that they have an exhibition of paintings on view this November at the Suzanne Geiss Company in New York.) Of “Half Cast” itself, Noble explained: “This is not so much a portrait of my wife… this is more an encounter, with something strangely familiar, a double dose with a twist. As the name suggests, it serves you up two halves of an inseparable relationship that have been torn apart and somehow stitched back together in a brief, suspended marriage to form a bastard child.”
Perhaps a Freudian might read something amiss in the sculpture — the aggressive invective of S.C.U.M., that paper bag — but Noble insists there’s nothing of the sort at play. “The paper bag on her head is on no way a malicious attack,” he clarified. “It references the American conceptual artist John Baldessari, who realized the power of covering the face, and of how the mind is disturbed by trying to fill in the missing bits.”
Noble is especially taken by The Door’s public, 24/7 access. “The fact that you can be walking through Soho any hour of the day or night and come across this piece makes it a very unique space,” he said. “I believe this is London’s smallest gallery — and behind The Door isThe Society Club: a bizarre, lawless bookshop, cocktail bar, and home to an assortment of five dogs.”
“Half Cast” will be on view at The Door in London from October 16 through November 18.
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