De-Figuring The Body with Paul Noble, Chloe Piene & Aura Satz

De-Figuring The Body with Paul Noble, Chloe Piene & Aura Satz

Online talk Thur 21 Oct 2021

Our exhibition FIGURE/S: drawing after Bellmer explores how a range of contemporary artists have used drawing to take the ideas of Hans Bellmer (1902-75) in unexpected directions. This online panel includes three of the artists whose work features in the show – Paul Noble, Chloe Piene and Aura Satz – who each have a long-standing fascination with the ideas and art of Bellmer.

Bellmer used drawing to take a journey through the body, to investigate how sensations in one part of the body could be felt in another, and how everything in its orbit has a part to play in the life of the imagination. In disrupting the unity of the body, Bellmer challenged societal structures of power, an imperative taken up by Noble, Piene and Satz, who will talk about their first encounters with Bellmer and the very different directions in which they have taken his ideas. The discussion, led by exhibition co-curator Kate Macfarlane, will look at the use of drawing to represent the body, or parts of the body, and at the same time to de-figure it – to think of it in terms of vibrations and pulses, allied to the spirit of animals. The artists will discuss their interests in alternative, feminist histories that challenge the symbolic order, including the role of women in the development of electronic music, our relationship with animals and with weapons, and the use of public sculpture to placate rather than to question.

About the speakers:

Paul Noble: The exhibition includes two of Noble’s Volume (2005-7) drawings, from a series of six in which he drew the entirety of Henry Moore’s sculptures from the six-volume catalogue of the sculptor’s work. The drawn sculptures appear as a mass of overlapping lines being, Noble says, ‘Bellmerised’ as they overlay each other. Bellmer’s photographs of Unica Zürn bound with string – a headless body, trussed like meat – appeared on the cover of Le Surréalisme même, no. 4, 1958; an abstract morphology that Noble applied to the sculptures of Moore. Born 1963 Northumberland, Paul Noble lives and works in London.  He has been exhibiting internationally since the early 2000’s and awards include nomination for the Turner Prize (2012); and recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Award (2000).

Chloe Piene: The exhibition also features Piene's Goat Horse (Untitled Small Goat) (2010) and Wendung (Turn) (2019). Piene has ridden horses naked and bareback in order to gain a direct understanding of their physiognomy and to explore the idea of becoming animal, of channelling their spirit. The artist likes the physical quality of drawing on vellum with charcoal, and her figures are open and weightless, expressive of a will to freedom shared by other artists in the exhibition. Born in the US in 1972, Piene lives and works in New York and exhibits internationally. Her work features in the collections of The Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York, and The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. 

Aura Satz: We include three of Satz’s She Recalibrates (2018) in the show, drawings of the hands of women who contributed to the development of electronic music. The hand on the frequency dial of an electronic synth is interpreted as a radical gesture of feminist instantiation, inventing new soundscapes, and, in turn, new ways of listening. The dial becomes an emblem for recalibration, an indicator of the micro-perceptual act of sound-making and fine-tuned listening. Also included is Expanded Listening (2021), a sonic exquisite corpse. Born 1974 Barcelona, Aura Satz lives and works in London. She exhibits internationally and awards include shortlisting for the Samsung Art+ Award (2012), and the Jarman Award (2012).

Paul NobleVolume 5Courtesy Gagosian Gallery  © Paul Noble, Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd
2006 – 07