Thursday, 23 September 2010


With so much talk of death this week, you could be pressurized into the belief that the world only revolves around suicide and depression. Firstly, there were two parties for books about the late Isabella Blow, followed by an interview with Tim Noble and Sue Webster at The National Portrait Gallery about their portrait of their friend which the Gallery coincidently bought. If you did not know the people involved you could think that it was morbid curiosity, almost an obsession not to be forgotten. Isabella was a larger than life character whom we all miss and thank goodness she was far from being a saint.

 Then there was Alexander McQueens Memorial too at St Paul's Cathedral. It was shocking that two people in this fast fashion world, who were friends killed themselves in the space of a couple of years. Life is not that easy in the world of Super Model, Muse and Super Hero.

Anyway back to Tim and Sue who were very interesting tonight. They have a knack of being both provocative and charming which is the core to their success. I loved the way they were described, a sub human species from a consumer age. Fabulous, or was the interviewer describing other people?. Anyway Issie wanted a Portrait and she was serious about it. Made partly from items belonging to her they created an incredible likeness which is now installed in Room 37 at the National Portrait Gallery. They are both definitely loyal, they stick up for what they believe in, and they are incredible friends. This I know. They don't belong to the clan of YBA, they were outsiders and without aid they have produced some truly moving work.

Issie arrived at their Studio wearing a triple decker hat, she left one part of the hat on each floor. She also left her Manola Blahnik shoes. From this, a raven and a robin they made her shadow image portrait.
Tim and Sue came to London with masses of ideas, and from working as assistants with Gilbert and George making frames one summer, they have become world famous aristocrats from the glamourous sewer of life..

Tim told a wonderful story of his Father's menagerie of animals that he collected for his pupils while he was The head of sculpture at Cheltenham including a Golden Eagle worth ten thousand pounds. Tim was brought up in this exotic mess. Sue was the daughter of an electrician and is able to do almost anything. Efficient to the extreme. They work in different ways but in the end come together producing explosive results.  Tim ended the interview on a perfectly charming note   "I don't usually talk about death, lets celebrate the living and mess things up a bit"

The National Portrait Gallery love the piece of theatre and art that Tim and Sue have produced and I do too as always.

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