Paul Noble

Chisenhale Gallery

The fictional town of Nobson Newtown is more than the collection of dwellings and other sites depicted in Paul Noble’s highly detailed and laboriously executed large-scale pencil drawings. The buildings as we see them are isolated—each confined to its own sheet of paper—while occupying a place in Noble’s larger conception of the space of the entire mapped-out townscape. Like all new entities, the town hasn’t risen out of nothing; rather, it sits on the site of an older community, where, we are told, the members’ activities had revolved around the veneration of a wormlike deity. In the new town there is no place of worship, because the inhabitants no longer feel the need for religious solace. Instead, a large shopping mall, converted from the old temple to the deity, occupies the town center. Engineered by the planners of the new town as a fitting “center” for a modern, uncentered

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