Tim Noble & Sue Webster: Love and Hate at Firstsite – The Artworks

Explore seven light sculptures by Noble & Webster scattered around the Firstsite building. Find out more about each artwork below.

Please note: some wording below contains language some may find offensive.

Excessive Sensual Indulgence, 1996

“The image of the fountain has been portrayed throughout art history for centuries, each major city has one, a focal point, a meeting place in the centre of town. Our fountain is the mythological fountain of eternal youth, one drop lasts forever.

 “Light signage generally is not supposed to be seen close up, but from a distance, on a motorway or a shop store front to convey a message generally read at speed. Forced into a room one becomes confronted with over 300 bright pulsating lights like a direct attack on the senses that hits you right between the eyes.” – Sue Webster


Please note: this artwork won’t be available to view until autumn.

Forever, Yellow Neon, 2015

“How long is Forever and ever? How long is a piece of string? A lifetime has a beginning and an end, we are born, we live, we die – the end – yet everlasting love, burning passion, commitment in belief has a permanence, an endurance through time.

 “There is no ever and ever without a beginning. I love you from my heart into infinity. Forever is perpetual and foolishly optimistic like love is, but it is not the act of living Forever, or loving for a long time it is the intensity of belief that rings eternal, even in and out of love there is an intensity to commitment. That’s what art does, you slave for your art against all odds, against all the doubters against money or fame. You burn for it because you enjoy it – not endure it because it has set a fire inside you, you embrace the reins that drive wild horses through storms and burning lakes, even in the darkest hours of self doubt, shine with exaggerated belief, even in death light shines on.” – Tim Noble

Smoking Finger, 2012

Smoking Finger was originally conceived as a sign that lead smokers to the new designated ‘smoking area’ of Mark Hix’s new restaurant in London’s Mayfair.

$, 2001

“The dollar sign is a symbol of money, power, greed, seduction, wealth. It is also an iconic symbol in art immortalised by Warhol. America has a long love affair of Warhol and his iconic work reflects American culture.

“For us the key to America was acknowledging the iconography of Warhol and giving it a twist. Yes the signage is pure and can be seen as something vulgar like selling dollar signs for dollars or selling America back to the Americans.” – Sue Webster


Please note: this artwork won’t be available to view until autumn.

Love/Hate, 2022

“The concept of the emblem is central to art: An emblem that can represent faith and fidelity, love as well as hate, fear as well as resolution, understanding and ignorance, sophistication and vulgarity, waste and value, friendship and alienation, male and female, negative and positive.

“In other words, an endless string of opposites that can tear the world apart and hold it together, either from the perspective of society in general or of two individuals who are joined as one.”

– extract from “The Magic Arts of Noble & Webster – Tim and Sue” by Norman Rosenthal in Wasted Youth (2006)

Nihilistic/Optimistic, 2012

“I think I’ve still got the desire to hold on to something to make it special, to hold back, to deny – to say no; Nihilistic think it just goes up and down like a yo-yo. The mood can swing just like that.” – Sue Webster

Walk on Water, 1998

“WOW is based on the signage of an amusement arcade on Wardour Street in London’s Soho. We were particularity drawn to the three layers of different coloured neon that surrounded each letter and flashed in an undulating ‘caterpillar’ effect as if it’s literary eating you alive. The Neon is attached to a stainless steel framework which double reflects the amount of light thrown at you, pulling you closer towards hypnotic psychosis.


“When we first installed this work at Modern Art back in 1998 in a tiny room off the main gallery, the pulsating light bouncing off the four walls was so extreme that most people were too afraid to enter, it was like daring yourself to walk through a high intensity squash court.” – Sue Webster


Please note: this artwork won’t be available to view until autumn.

fuckingbeautiful detail (ice blue), 2017

Our art dealer at the time asked us to make a new neon piece for an art fair he was taking part in, as demand for our work was such in the late 90’s that we had a queue of people waiting for works. As I listened to his persuasive monologue, with the telephone in one hand and pencil in the other – my mind started to wander scribbling, and doodling without consequence onto scraps of paper positioned by the phone for such situations as this… when I glanced down I noticed that I’d unknowingly and repeatedly jotted down the words FUCKING LUCKY again and again – as if they should be so FUCKING LUCKY to be able to get their hands on a piece of our work… or maybe we should be so FUCKING LUCKY to be in such high demand, a once in a lifetime situation… as the dealer mumbled on some more, the pencil spiralled out the words FUCKINGLUCKY FUCKING LUCKY FUCKING LUCKY again and again as if I was some naughty school girl writing lines in detention after school, without thought or intervention I watched as the words joined themselves together and formed – first a circle FUCKINGLUCKYFUCKINGLUCKYFUCKINGLUCKY….and then quite naturally as the mood lifted the words changed shape until the idea revealed itself


That moment of simplistic mind wandering has been our saviour when times are hard through sickness and in health til death do us part FOREVER…” – Sue Webster

Welcome area at Firstsite. 'Big Hello' (2018) Peter Liversidge. Photo by Jayne Lloyd.

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