Paul Noble exhibition, Gagosian Gallery, London
Master draughtsman Paul Noble’s graphite drawings transport viewers to imaginary urban landscapes. Like a town planner given free reign, the artist invents his own utopian cities, rendering them in minute detail and filling them with cryptic imagery. The latest of these is ’Nobson Newtown’ - an architectural marvel that has been 15 years in the making, and is now on show at London’s Gagosian Gallery.
Central to the exhibition is a giant, seven-metre-wide drawing entitled ’Welcome to Nobson’. The building blocks of the work are words. ’I made a list of places and buildings, the names of which are written as one-word poems in my font, Nobson,’ he explains. Seen together, the text is strangely engrossing, even though there is no distinct tale and the words are almost impossible to decipher. ’There is no story or time in Nobson Newtown,’ he adds. ’I consider it to be a play without acts or actors.’
Examine all the works on show and you’ll spot everything from Nobson’s public toilet to bulging bin bags. Adding extra absurdity to this spectacle are stone forms that stand guard in the middle of the exhibition. ’They are excremental forms, human shits in embrace,’ explains the Northumberland-born artist. ’The sculptures represent the duality that is within us - that we are our own Gods and that we are inevitably nothing more than compost.’
It may not offer the most uplifting of messages, but this is a transfixing show nonetheless.