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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Paul Noble: Welcome to Nobson, Gagosian Gallery, King's Cross

The Gagosian Gallery is an epic franchise with branches all over the world. In London the gallery is based at 6-24 Britannia Street, just round the corner from King’s Cross Station on a strangely deserted street. I was delighted to be finally visiting this prestigious and trendy establishment. The space is clean and stark… a stern faced doorman lets you in, and then other security men stand guard at almost every picture, it is a little bit silly but certainly gives the gallery a very exclusive feel.

The current exhibition is called ‘Welcome to Nobson’, a collection of works by East London artist Paul Noble. The works illustrate Noble’s fictional world, Nobson, an odd and fascinating illusion conjured up in immaculate fairy tale detail in Noble’s most recent drawings and sculpture. The entrance is through a dangling curtain of black and white blocks, as you walk in the forms bash together, it is a very physical start. The vast graphite drawings are minutely detailed, delicate and decorative, carefully executed and apparently miraculously avoiding any smudges. Some show elaborate narratives, little stories woven through the lines and markings; you could examine each work for hours and still spot new things.

I loved the huge expansive drawing pinned onto the central wall, it demonstrates mind-boggling craftsmanship on a monumental scale, intricate and beautiful. Heaven (2009) and Hell (2009) were also favourites of mine – two adjacent drawings depicting fenced off areas - bizarrely heaven is a closed trapped space with sturdy brick walls, while hell has ornate pretty fencing with easy access to come and go.

I couldn’t decide if I liked the sculptures or not - Couple (2011) and Three (2011) are made from pale pink marble towering above the visitors on tall blocks; they are mysterious, ultra smooth surfaced and other worldly. To me they looked a bit like giant dollops of marshmallow on top of each other, though I’m not sure this was what the artist intended!

An absolutely stunning exhibition and entry to the Gagosian Gallery is free!

Visit website here.

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