This video gives (literally) a glimpse behind the scenes of Paul Noble and offers an insight into the way he thinks and works.

Nobson. This is the name of the place that British artist Paul Noble has been trying to portray through drawings and sculptures since 1996. The place has the features of a remote provincial town - somewhere between the hills and the sea - built according to modernistic principles at the time of the post-war reconstruction. Say: the sixties of the 20th century.

There are houses and streets; there is an underground system, a shopping centre, a factory, a park, and a cemetery. But when you look closer, the buildings in Nobson are different to those you see in everyday life. They are made from letters: massive, angular As, Bs and Cs that have been hewn from a quarry at the edge of the little town. The letters form words and the words in Nobson mean exactly what they say. NOBSLUM, NOBSPITAL, PAUL's PALACE. Or perhaps not.

That much is clear: the word creations of Noble emerge from the deepest depths - like a structured form of 'criture automatique'. And that is why Nobson Newtown can be seen as an ever-incomplete inner landscape of the person building the town. 

The video was made by the artist himself, in collaboration with Georgina Starr, at the request of the Education Department of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.


Video credits

A film by Paul Noble en Georgina Starr

Commisioned by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Music: 'Study for Player Piano no. 41a' from "Studies for Player Piano" (written by Conlon Nancarrow) with kind permission of SCHOTT MUSIC, Mainz

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