Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
September 9 – December 30, 2011
The Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis is organizing the first solo presentation of the work of London-based Australian artist David Noonan in an American museum. Since emerging in the early 2000s, Noonan has developed an international reputation for work that incorporates photographic imagery of costumed performers, groups of figures from utopian collectives, and other elements of theater and stagecraft in collaged, painterly, or sculptural formats. In doing so, he encourages viewers to consider how documentary images of actual events and happenings might be transformed into fiction, while suggesting the significant roles that theatricality and performance have played in our recent cultural history. This exhibition will present a survey of recent works in a variety of media as well as numerous new works created especially for this presentation at CAM. The main gallery spaces will feature examples of large-scale works featuring evocative photographic images from various sources such as books about experimental theater or puppetry, as well as Japanese textile designs, all screenprinted onto different fabrics that are layered and stitched together. Noonanʼs process of creating these works gives the images a shadowy sense of mystery, while the layering of the figurative and abstract imagery creates a tension between abstraction and representation. A new sculptural work emphasizing a connection to modernist aesthetics and design as well as a presentation of smaller, collage works will be presented in the main galleries as well. An installation of wood, cut-out figures featuring images of dancers in various positions (originally created for a solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery in London in 2008) will be presented in CAMʼs performance space to accentuate and reemphasize the theatrical function and design of that space.