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"Paul Noble: No accidents, only mistakes"
2005-04-02 until 2005-06-19
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
The British artist Paul Noble (1963, Northumberland) has gained international fame with his monumental project ‘Nobson Newtown’. This project takes a central place in the exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and is on display in the Netherlands for the first time ever, from April 2 through June 19, 2005. Nobson Newtown is a fictional city that has been constructed from 27 monumental pencil drawings which make visible the history, geography and mythology of the place. Noble started this project in 1995. His drawings are highly detailed and suggest a fantastical landscape which has literally been represented in grand perspective and contains gothic elements. The intensity and detail of the work recall the work of Jeroen Bosch and Piranesi.
No accidents, only mistakes
The city has been designed and built on ruins by invisible citizens demonstrating a ‘knock-it-down-and-start-again-spirit’. It reveals the influence of the Garden City Movement on twentieth century town planning, replete with inherent social reforms. The buildings in the city are based on the alphabet. Each drawing shows the name of the building depicted in three-dimensional letters, as in a medieval manuscript. Language literally forms the buildings and civilization in this fictional city. The extremely detailed locations in the city centre can be easily recognized: the hospital Nopspital, the cemetery Nobsend, a job centre Nojobclub. Each building is depicted from a unique angle. The geometric clouds that often occur in Noble’s work provide depth to the entire work.
Nobson Newtown does not avoid the self-destruction of our time: natural resources are exhausted; the devastation resulting from deforestation is disturbingly noticeable. As a reminder of our responsibilities, the artist has chosen to take the perspective of an aerial view of the city of our creation. The motto of the city is: ‘no style, only technique, no accidents, only mistakes’. Paul Noble spent eight years working on this project.
The exhibition is complemented by a very large egg-shaped sculpture: ‘a cross between a Fabergé egg and a Grecian urn’, including detailed drawings. A catalogue will be published, in English, to accompany the exhibition. This exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London and the migros museum für gegenwartskunst in Zürich.
Paul Noble was born in Dilston, Northumberland, in 1963. He studied at Humberside College and became active in the civil rights movement, a movement that fought against the road planning in his neighbourhood. From 1988 until 1998, Noble managed the City Racing art gallery together with a group of artists. This gallery exerted considerable influence on London’s art scene. Noble has had exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, London (1999), a solo exhibition at Gorney Bravin and Lee Fine, New York (2000), and ACC Galerie in Weimar, Germany (2000). Paul Noble lives and works in London.
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