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Tim Noble & Sue Webster (b. 1966 & 1967)
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Tim Noble & Sue Webster (b. 1966 & 1967)

Excessive, Sensual Indulgence

Tim Noble & Sue Webster (b. 1966 & 1967)
Excessive, Sensual Indulgence
multicoloured light fittings, light bulbs and coloured UFO caps, 5mm Foamex, vinyl, aerosol paint, electronic sequencer, 4 channel bubble and chase effect
74¾ x 35½ x 9 7/8in. (190 x 90 x 25cm.)
Executed in 1996, this work is the artist proof from an edition of three plus one artist proof
Modern Art Inc., London.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner.
The New Barbarians, exh. cat. Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spacex Gallery, Exeter 1999 (another from the edition illustrated, unpaged).
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Lot Essay

Excessive. Sensual. Indulgence. The title says it all. Conjuring up the dazzling kitsch beauty of Las Vegas - the Strip sparkling and flashing in myriad colours of light, vacuously pretty. It is a place of indulgence, of fantasy for the common man - a uniquely American phenomenon. The extravaganza of surface delights glitter and shimmer, insistently flashing on and off, as if giving with one hand, taking away with the other. The glitz of Las Vegas is perhaps most obviously present in Forever, Tim Noble and Sue Webster's major light piece that echoes the era of Bugsy Siegal and the once famous Flamingo Hotel. The neon works too owe much to the Vegas' tacky charm. Yet Excessive, Sensual Indulgence was made more with Blackpool in mind. Far closer to home, the Golden Mile of Blackpool is the original inspiration for this iridescent fountain. The mile-long profusion of carnavalesque lights in the traditionally working-class seaside resort in the north of England is a much-prized local event, a one-off annual occurrence. Its down-at-heel imitation of the excessive glitz of Vegas is as uniquely British in character as the former is American, but the two share the same persuasive power, promising instant gratification, guilt-free. The artist duo have little regard for conventional notions of good taste, ploughing the aesthetics of these light-shows to create a work that is hypnotically beautiful and yet endlessly restless: the lights flash on and off in a constant state of flux, never reaching a climax.

Much of Tim Noble and Sue Webster's work is concerned with the insatiable beast of consumerism, Instant Gratification, the title of their Gagosian Beverly Hills show in 2001. Their work is as much about the aestheticisation of banality and excessive consumerism as it is about exposing the relentless hype of art world politics. They exploit the mundane and the kitsch, and transform the most humble materials into complex and visually arresting installations and sculptures. Deliberately drawing on the cheap, the mundane, the banal, the tacky, the kitsch, Noble and Webster have created their very own brand of pop aesthetic: a trashy wonderland where art world subversion meets Harlequin romance.



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