31 October-24 November 2002
Noble and Silver have achieved considerable critical success on the comedy circuit. At the Edinburgh Festival 2000, they received the prestigious Perrier Best Newcomer Award and in Spring 2001 were commissioned by Channel 4 for a six part series on E4.
Kim Noble and Stuart Silver both studied Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University and have been practising professionally for five years. Individually, they worked in a variety of media: Noble focusing on photography, video and performance and Silver focusing more on text and performance. Their public collaboration as Noble and Silver began in 2000. Art students in the mid 90’s, Noble & Silver’s practice incorporates the interdisciplinary strands familiar in recent Brit Art. Their collaborative strength lies in the combination of Noble’s conceptual visual focus and Silver’s humanised facility with language. Both benefit from the tangential thinking that is nurtured in Art school. Methodological links might be made with the Wooster Group, Forced Entertainment and Station House Opera; links which are turned upside down by an ever-present irony.
The work of Noble and Silver is disorientating and aims to destabilise the audience as much as to make it laugh. Their work is neither stand-up nor comedy but a fluid multi-media happening that co-opts the audience and a number of performers. The work uses technology to expose the structure of their performance and is the product of penetrating intelligence and meticulous preparation.
Noble and Silver’s nightly shows at the Edinburgh Festival and in London theatres 2000/01 embraced a box office price structure, a seated audience, the beginning and the end of a (repeated) show and the distinction between artist/actor and audience. Their work has been innovative in the way in which they have combined the devices of the video artist, stand-up comedian, theatre actor, and live artist to produce a critique on all that has delighted and confounded the mixed audiences that the work attracts. Their performances deconstruct the process of presenting a show. At the London Arts’ Theatre last Autumn, the performance looped around itself, spliced with video images that were seldom quite as they seemed and meticulously timed conversations between Noble and Silver and their recorded selves. “Its about putting something funny next to something that deconstructs itself, next to something quite tragic.”
Noble & Silver have been commissioned by Beaconsfield to undertake a new live public residency. This current proposal from Beaconsfield explores a new dimension in the exhibition/event debate by re-introducing the collaborative and cross media practice of two visual artists to the gallery via their considerable success on the comedy circuit.
Incorporating the physical aspects of the gallery and the logistical elements of exhibition organisation, Noble and Silver have proposed to create a series of static installations, performances and ideas in progress that locate themselves within the conventions of art exhibitions. In deconstructing the elements of institutionalised art, the artists will create an environment in which the audience may ask the question – What is the work? – whilst becoming engaged with the process through the devices of performance. As part of the commission, Noble and Silver have agreed to extend these activities to a media campaign, which in its turn will ask, “What is the work?” The commission will expand upon the interactive audience strategies on which Beaconsfield built its reputation and will provide the audience with an exhibition experience, which reinvigorates the hallmarks of recent British Art with humour.