Paul Noble – NOBSON: an endlessly growing cosmopolis

Paul Noble, Ye Olde  Ruin, 2003-2004. Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Purchase with support from the Mondriaan Fund and the Van Beuningen/Peterich Fund.  Photo: Bob Goedewaagen.

Press release

An endlessly growing cosmopolis
14 June - 21 September 2014

This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will exhibit Paul Noble’s Nobson Newtown, an ever-growing cosmopolis on which the artist has worked for eighteen years. The vast drawings and other artworks that make up Nobson Newtown are spread across major museums and private collections worldwide, and will be brought together in the museum’s 1500m2 Bodon Galleries for the most comprehensive survey of Noble’s project to date.

Paul Noble’s (1963, UK) metropolis takes form through detailed and gigantic pencil drawings, sculptures, video and other objects. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen purchased two works by Noble in 2004, and now 10 years later the museum is excited to be gathering the largest ever collection of the Nobson works. Works such as Nobspital (a hospital), Nobsend (a cemetery), Welcome to Nobson (a civic monument), and many more will be presented in collaboration with the artist, to give scope to the breadth and depth of Noble’s visual world.

Nobson Newtown
Located in the precise moment of 10.45am, the sun’s rays hit Nobson Newtown at a 45-degree angle, illuminating it left to right. All buildings and objects are represented in an isometric projection, in which there is no distinction between foreground and background, and the buildings are made up of a three-dimensional typeface, the ‘Nobson font’, through which the letters literally describe their locations.

Paul Noble lives and works in London. His works have been exhibited at Tate (1999) and the Whitechapel Art Gallery (2004) in London; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005); the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2003), and the Migros Museum, Zurich (2005). In 2012 Noble was nominated for the Turner Prize, for his solo show ‘Welcome to Nobson’ at the Gagosian Gallery, London (2011).

The museum’s collection
The Paul Noble drawings acquired by the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2004 are now part of one of Europe’s largest collections of prints and drawings. Whether through its resonance with the orgiastic work of Hieronymus Bosch or relation to the utopian vision of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Noble’s metropolis fits well within the museum’s collection, and enters into conversation with the other works within it.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated artist’s book, in both Dutch and English, and feature essays by Michael Shanks, Paul Kempers, and Sjarel Ex. The book is designed by Esther de Vries and is available in the museum shop, bookstore and via

The exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of Ammodo and the Zabawas Foundation.