Tim Noble and Sue Webster's commission, The New Barbarians is based upon a diorama at the Museum of Natural History in New York. The diorama shows a reconstruction of two Australopithecines, early ancestors of homo sapiens dating back 3.5 million years ago. Based on newly found footprints, the reconstruction suggests a male and female walking alongside each other. This provided new evidence that the human species was beginning to form social relationships at this time.
Noble and Webster created a version of the figures overlaid with their own facial features. The couple stand isolated in an apparently infinite space created within an otherwise empty gallery. The piece continues Noble & Webster’s concern with pairing and love, impermanence and immortality.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster both studied at Foundation College, Cheltenham Art College (1985 – 1986), Nottingham Polytechnic (1986 – 1989) and Royal College of Art in London (1992 – 1994). From 1989 until 1992 they were both resident artists at Dean Clough in Halifax in West Yorkshire. Noble & Webster have participated in numerous exhibitions all over the world, including "Fools Rain" at ICA Institute of Contemporary Art in London (1996), "I Love You" at Deitch Projects in New York (2000), "Apocalypse. Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art" at Royal Academy of Art in London (2000), "Magic, Loneliness & Trash" at Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires (2001),"Melodrama" at Tate Liverpool (2001), "Tim Noble & Sue Webster" at PS 1/Museum of Modern Art in New York (2003), and "State of Play" at Serpentine Gallery in London (2004). Noble and Webster currently live and work in London.
The exhibition is a collaboration with Spacex Gallery, Exeter and a publication by the artists accompanies the exhibition.