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Tim Noble and Sue Webster: The Masterpiece

Since the 1980s, British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster have been known for their shadow sculptures built from materials as diverse as scrap metal, garbage, taxidermy, and sex toys. When light is directed at these assemblages, they project shadows that are exceptionally accurate and intricate representations of other things entirely.

The Masterpiece (2014) is a shadow self-portrait of the artists created from metal casts of dead vermin they collected and welded together into a ball. From afar the casts appear to be a stunning abstract silver sculpture; on closer inspection the disturbing menagerie of creatures emerges, only to change form again—as a shadow on the wall—into a precise and elegant image that is astonishingly different from the objects that create it.