Shadow Sculptures Made from Trash Reveal Beauty & Horror (Photos)

© Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Sculptures made out of trash may be a dime a dozen, but British artistic duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster are taking trash art to another level of in-your-face subtlety.

Using discarded wood, metal, personal trash and even taxidermy materials, Noble and Webster project light straight onto these assemblages, focusing on an "investigation of the shadows" that are cast by their trash sculptures, revealing fascinating messages hidden in their forms.

© Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Inspired by the idea of "perceptual psychology" where patients might be asked to described what they see in an amorphous inkblot in order to reveal their subconscious biases, Noble and Webster's otherwise un-recognizable sculptures play with how we might evaluate abstract forms.

© Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Through sculptures that are activated by light and shadow, Noble and Webster imbue their works with eerie messages of mortality, sex, violence, mythology, hybridity and transformation, oftentimes from a self-portraiture standpoint.

© Tim Noble & Sue Webster
Coming from a decidedly punk, "anti-art" attitude, some of their works are quite tongue-in-cheek, like this shadow projection of a trash sculpture featuring a man and a woman responding to the call of nature.

© Tim Noble & Sue Webster
© Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Other works like "Dark Stuff" (below) are mind-boggling in their eclectic choice of materials, edging on almost grotesque -- 189 mummified animals, consisting of 67 field mice, 5 adult rats, 42 juvenile rats, 44 garden shrews, 1 fox, 1 squirrel, 1 weasel, 13 carrion crows, 7 jackdaws, 1 blackbird, 1 sparrow, 1 robin, 1 toad, 1 gecko, 3 garden snail shells.

There's an aspect of re-use in these sculptures though: some of the duo's taxidermic work derived from the collection of preserved animals that Noble's late father left behind after his death in 2000.

© Tim Noble & Sue Webster

The messages seen in the inky shadows of these sculptures may not be for everyone, but are guaranteed at least to jolt the viewer out of any complacent, idealized ideas about art. Unapologetic and raw, Tim Noble and Sue Webster's works shine a proverbial and provocative light into another world, getting us to see beyond initial appearances. Take a look at the rest of their work on their website.

Tags: Artists | Arts | Recycled Consumer Goods

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