press release

Owls, shadow-plays, abandoned houses and other memory glitches An Australian artist based in London, David Noonan combines film, painting, silkscreen, photography, sculpture, installation, and collage. Owls, shadow-plays, abandoned houses, Indonesian puppets, cults and counter-cultures, each turned into deconstructed fragments, inform a universe that is inspired by ancient traditional rituals and folkloric mythologies as well as by the more sinister world of the occult. His images are like silhouettes, visible only in part and suspended outside of a clearly identifiable time period, place, or colour. The atmosphere is often sombre, but maintains a delicate and poetic sensibility that makes use of the porous and accidental nature of memory to propose an engaging anonymity: how do we remember that which we only partly understand?

For his first exhibition in France, David Noonan presents a group of large new silkscreens , new collages, as well as a selection of recent silkscreens, collages, gouaches, and sculpture. The new works, most of which are more than 3 by 2 meters in size, feature images silkscreened on linen or directly onto birch plywood. While his sources are anonymous, the artist focuses on scenes of ritualistic gatherings, theatrical role-playing, or masked figures. Although making use of a 1970s aesthetic, the works remain too out-of-focus, storyless, and ambiguous to become nostalgic or historical. In creating composites of found photographs juxtaposed on top and inside of each other, Noonan uses a visual language that confuses narrative with abstraction and that allows people to become patterns, and vice-versa.

At the Palais de Tokyo, the artist conceives a site-specific display system that merges space, sculpture, and surface, adding yet another dimension to his practice. In a gallery measuring more than 300 square meters, an arrangement of fabric-covered panels and wooden support structures creates a system of wall fragments and an architecture of interruptions, déjà-vu's, and physical silhouettes. The flattening process that occurs in the artist's image-collaging is ultimately reversed, and the ghost-like protagonists of his invisible play are brought back into real space via this system of stand-alone props. With a newfound site-specificity and consideration of architectural constructs, this exhibition allows Noonan to extend his practice to new territories and experiment with a more complex tension between surfaces, images, and how they inhabit places.

David Noonan has presented his work in solo exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2006) ; HOTEL, London (2005) ; Foxy Production, New York (2004) ; or Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2002, 2003, 2005), and the Monash University Museum of Art in Melbourne presented David Noonan : Films and Paintings 2001-2005 in 2005. He has participated in group shows at Tate Modern, London (2006) ; PBICA, Palm Beach, FL (2005); The Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo (2004) ; Tate Britain, London (2003) ; Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2002) ; Istanbul Biennial (2001) ; and Witte de With, Rotterdam (1999), among others.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its principal arts funding and advisory body. Special thanks to Foxy Production, HOTEL, David Kordansky Gallery, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Uplands Gallery, and the lenders to the exhibition.

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David Noonan