"The sky is above and there is the sea below and in between is the carnival."
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Paul Noble, the artist's first with the gallery.
Forging a unique and maverick path in the ebullient British art scene, Noble received widespread international recognition for his vast and monumental drawing project, Nobson Newtown. Drawing image after image, story after story—at once architect and town planner, archaeologist and cartographer, social historian and activist, creator and destroyer—over the course of a decade Noble invented and described a melancholy urban vision somewhere between Le Doux's revolutionary utopias, Sim City, and the post-holocaust wastelands pictured in the daily media. Nobson Newtown was Noble's own fantasist master plan of a symbolic city, isometrically rendered and replete with all manner of nightmares, perversions, scatolological and libidinous excesses. A blocky, geometric font (also invented by the artist) structured many of the buildings themselves, providing yet another layer of meaning in this fascinating parody of contemporary society and the dreams of social engineers.
A meticulous and dedicated draftsman, Noble creates dizzyingly elaborate encrypted schemes, drawing from inspirations as diverse as ancient Chinese scrolls and Japanese sculptures, Fabergé eggs and brick walls, eighteenth century pornography and animal rights, Hieronymous Bosch and Oyvind Fahlstrom. The sheer level of detail in his drawings defies the capacity of the eye to see and the mind to fully grasp them.
"dot to dot" comprises drawings, ceramic sculptures, rugs, sound, and various other installation elements, to form an atmosphere or environment that reflects on time, space, and change, both massive and infinitesimal. Noble has brought back Paul's Palace, a seminal drawing from 1996 (and the first of the original Nobson Newtown group) that depicts a house built on sand with the sea behind. In one corner of the picture lies a pile of discarded sculptures by the British monumentalist Henry Moore, joining the flotsam and jetsam scattered across the littoral zone. Paul's Palace is thus the genesis of Noble's exhaustive and playful exploration of Moore's entire sculptural oeuvre, where the original outlines of the monolithic sculptures are redrawn as one huge cat's cradle of line and mass in the wall-size drawing Monument monument, and as smaller assemblages in a suite of related works on paper. In counterpoint are several serene, large-scale drawings simply entitled Sea. These seemingly disparate interests come together in a series of exotic and colorful ceramic tabletop sculptures, Noble's own versions of gongshi or Chinese scholar's rocks. Whereas gongshi are naturally occurring rock forms, collected and admired for their intrinsic sculptural and spiritual properties, Noble's are unique combinations of press-molded, modular ceramic units derived from Moore's massive sculptural forms.
Paul Noble was born in 1963 in Dilston, Northumberland. He was one of five founding members of City Racing, an influential artists' space in London (1988-98), where he showed in 1990. His work has since been exhibited in London at Cubitt Gallery (1995), Chisenhale Gallery (1998), Tate Gallery (1999), and Whitechapel Art Gallery (2004); and internationally at the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo(2003), Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Migros Museum, Zurich (2005). Noble lives and works in London.
Paul Noble: Recent Drawings
An uncanny yet strangely familiar universe unfolds in Paul Noble’s recent drawings. On the occasion of simultaneous exhibitions featuring this body of work, Anna Heyward considers the world it conjures and its mysterious motifs.
At the Studio with Paul Noble
This video features interview footage alongside documentation of the artist’s intensive process, serving as a faithful chronicle of Noble’s latest efforts.