Paul Noble
December 2008
By Iwona Blazwick


British artist Paul Noble's monumental eight-year project, the meticulous depiction of a fictional city called Nobson Newtown, takes viewers from the Shopping Mall to Ye Olde Ruin via wall-sized drawings. His aerial perspectives take the viewer over a fantastical cityscape that contains hidden quotations from Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat and T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland. Noble also includes an enormous egg-shaped sculpture (described as "a cross between a Faberge egg and a Grecian urn"), a black-and-white film and an embroidered modesty screen. All of his work revolves around themes of birth, language, religion and ruin. Whether drawing from medieval illuminations, ancient Chinese scrolls or contemporary artists like Robert Smithson, Noble embodies a fascinating blend of utopian fantasy, social policies and historical perspectives.