Paul Noble Open Shut
The British artist Paul Noble began building the imaginary island of Nobson Newtown in 1995. His vast drawings in grey pencil detail the buildings and geology from the standpoint of an architect, urban planner, and demiurge. The island has much in common with La Chaux-de-Fonds: it is somewhat isolated and is characterised by right angles, modernist architecture and unusual public sculptures.
The exhibition was planned in partnership with the artist to resonate with its surroundings. Featuring works created in the past ten years, it sheds light on the new directions Noble has taken in his creative practice. Alongside the monumental drawings that have earned him international acclaim, he has begun to work with sculptures and installations.
Having described the outskirts of his town in great detail, he now seems to step into a house haunted by preconscious memories. New motifs appear: a gigantic, incongruous leg like a surreal deity, mysterious doors closed on enigmatic visions, and the insistent focus on the time of day. Quarter to eleven is a immovable anchor in Nobson Newtown – an aspect that takes on particular meaning in a town with a proud clockmaking history. The focus on the inner life of the imaginary island goes hand in hand with an exploration of changes of scale, shifting from tiny to vast, their upheaval echoing the levels of reality. The visitor is a modern-day Gulliver, by turns a giant and a Lilliputian as he turns from one work of art to the next.
Paul Noble was born in 1963 in Northumberland. He lives and works in London and is represented by Gagosian.
The exhibition was made possible thanks to the support of the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, the Bureau de contrôle des métaux précieux, the Ernst Göhner Stiftung and the Fondation Bonhôte pour l’art contemporain.