Tim Noble and Sue Webster: Sticks with Dicks and Slits

Art Free
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

This is seriously dumb art. It’s exactly what it looks like: massive stick figures with their genitals out. Puerile, aggressive, childish, silly art. But you know what? If art’s going to be stupid – if it’s going to ignore the world, to look inwards, to be basically unaesthetic – then it might as well be really fucking stupid. And Brit art provocateurs Tim Noble and Sue Webster are going for dumb art Olympic gold in this latest series. But here’s the thing about art that’s this dumb and basic. It doesn’t force you to think. It just does what it looks like it does, and sometimes that’s actually a relief.

The series started out as wire maquettes created while the duo (who divorced in 2013 but continue to work together) were doing a residency in the Caribbean. Poor them, huh. Those little maquettes were then cast into massive bronze version of themselves.

The scale’s what matters here. Noble and Webster are taking the childish and immature, the base and the low, and blowing it up into fine art. It’s a joke on us, a challenge to what we can hack. Yes, the sculptures look like ruder versions of something you’d find on a High Wycombe roundabout, but they’re meant to. 

Ok, sure, there’s more going on here than just dicks and slits. This is about two people trying to deal with each other. It’s a relationship writ large, it’s the struggle of coupling and uncoupling turned into a bunch of aggressive silly sculptures. You know when you go through some turmoil, some tragedy, and say ‘well, you’ve got to laugh’? This is that moment. It’s challenging what you think is acceptable as art and it’s documenting the way two people deal with each other. But it’s also stick figures with cocks and vaginas, so take whatever you want from it.



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