May 1, 2012

Turner Prize shortlist: Video, photography, perfomance, and a guy who draws imaginary worlds

Performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd, photographer and filmmaker Luke Fowler,  video artist Elizabeth Price, and drawer Paul Noble are the nominees for the 2012 Turner Prize. In The Guardian, Anita Singh reports that the jury noted "a common sense of humanity and lack of arrogance” and an interest in the 1960s and 1970s among the artists selected this year. The jury included Andrew Hunt of the Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea, Heike Munder from the Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, Michael Stanley of Modern Art Oxford, Mark Salden from Denmark's Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota and Tate Britain's Penelope Curtis. An exhibition of the finalists' work will open at Tate Britain on October 2, stirring much debate and controversy among the general public as to who is, in fact, the best artist, once again making me jealous that we don't have a similarly popular art competition in the US.

But more about Paul Noble. Noble, who was nominated for "Welcome to Nobson," his 2011 solo exhibition at Gagosian in London, is known for monumental, highly-detailed series of graphite drawings that depict Nobson Newtown, an imaginary world composed of odd structures, monuments, and deserted gardens. Born in  1963 in Northumberland, Noble studied at Sunderland Polytechnic and Humberside College of Higher Education. Along with Matt Hale, John Burgess, Keith Coventry and Peter Owen, he opened City Racing, an influential artist-run space in London that operated from 1988-98.


Paul Noble, installation view, Gagosian in London, 2011. Two marble sculptures, Couple (2011) and Three (2011), referencing shit and other "base biometric forms," are described as three-dimensional counterparts to the characters and monuments depicted in Noble's smaller drawings. Photos by Prudence Cuming.

Paul Noble, Welcome to Nobson, 2008–10, pencil on paper, 20 panels: 178 x 281 1/2 inches overall. Noble's opening quote on the press release reminds me of Gulliver's Travels.  "It was therefore decided to erect a civic monument on the roundabout at the outskirts of town. The monument is a large, vertical structure that spells out the friendly message 'Welcome to Nobson.'"

 Paul Noble, Heaven, 2009, graphite on paper, 48 x 119 inches
 Paul Noble, Family is Infinity (or, Hard Labour), 2009–10, pencil on paper, 3 panels: 54 5/16 x 65 inches overall.

The 2012 Turner Prize winner will be announced on December 3.

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