Exhibition

Anamnesis Unbroken (Au) - works by Laura Noble

1 Mar 2023 – 12 Mar 2023

Regular hours

Wednesday
10:00 – 18:00
Thursday
10:00 – 18:00
Friday
10:00 – 18:00
Saturday
10:00 – 18:00
Sunday
10:00 – 18:00
Tuesday
10:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Espacio Gallery

London
England, United Kingdom

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Anamnesis Unbroken (Au) features paintings, sculpture & works on paper by Laura Noble. Addressing the transformation of trauma into beautiful, celebratory art, this exhibition also includes a short interactive film & installation.

About

Anamnesis Unbroken (Au) harnesses memories and reminders of trauma, transformed into hypnotic artworks. Fusing still life and abstraction - using personal past and present narratives - she disempowers and fractures the most difficult subjects to turn negatives into positives.

Formally, on the surface, Laura Noble's works appear to be traditional modernist abstractions, yet this is not the case. On closer inspection, they reveal themselves in layers to the viewer, like patterned puzzle boxes, giving a tantalising glimpse of the secrets contained within.

Noble’s work utilises an aesthetic that is suggestive of textile art. In drawing on the traditions of pattern making and still life to disguise the true purpose of these paintings, Noble challenges the notion of what is women's art. Textile art has long been made by women, yet so often interpreted derisively as 'decorative arts'.

Her visual language intentionally obscures the narrative. Hiding the meanings of her subjects in the folds of her drawings, which are crushed by the artist shortly after rendering, serve several purposes. Her creations do not serve as a trigger to past trauma. They present her method of processing it.

Exploring her own altered identity as a child and often mistaken ethnicity (elements of which were necessary for her own safety) she reveals the most intimate personal histories. Through a technique that she developed during lockdown, Noble does this without fear to allow her to be completely open and honest, with no subject off limits. 

Her techniques present a non-linear concept of time, memory and philosophy. Her paintings propose that "we hold all innate memory. However, our brain does things to protect us, as well as make room for new memories. In order to access this, we just have to 'unforget' it. Investigating the Platonic theory of anamnesis has been a constant pivotal space in which I can operate. It lets me channel my work into the darkest spaces of the psyche without fear and release my demons one at a time. We all have them, but few acknowledge or face them. From a very young age, I decided to face mine using art.”

Noble begins by drawing the elements that represent an event or memory. This often takes the form of multiple objects directly present or connected to the event. As she draws, she focuses on the memory in as much detail as possible to infuse her emotions through the line as she renders it on paper. It is then crushed and becomes a distorted still life object from which she can then create. Through painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, photography and film Noble’s works are embedded and infused with these narratives.

Double sided photographs of crushed drawings are crushed again to manifest sculptural forms. The process accentuates the circular nature of trauma and memory; from 2D (drawings) to 3D (crushed drawings), to 2D (photograph of crushed drawing) and back again to 3D (crushed photograph of the crushed drawing). Each dimension transcends to another. Housed in bell jars, they are accented on tears and creases with 22carrot gold leaf. This nod to the Japanese practice of kintsugi, visible mending with gold, points to the precious nature of our inner worlds. The final containment within the bell jars themselves provide a final literary flourish. Imperfections are celebrated yet not fully revealed. They are released and contained at the same time.

Unwrapping the meaning of 'Anamnesis Unbroken (Au)' presents itself as a visible mending for both artist and viewer. Audiences are invited to participate by drawing things they wish to process, begin to let go of, and heal from, before crushing and throwing their drawing into a semi-circle arena in front of the film projection. These works form an audience mirroring the film through action, sound and process.

The catharsis of the action is extremely important and continues right up to the end point of the finished work, and beyond, through audience participation and interaction.

The work was made during an artist residency with the drawing shed alongside dialogues with women at the studio who live on the estate in Walthamstow where the residency is located. Workshops with women and children, to learn this technique with drawing and collage, have also been conducted in order to share the method further afield. The accessible nature of the technique is inclusive and easy to share with friends and family. Noble’s hope for Anamnesis Unbroken (Au) is to share the project and method far and wide to begin to process trauma. The work is there to encourage positivise mental health and self-care in the nurturing gentle way it is created.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Laura Noble

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