White Cube Gallery is pleased to present UNBUILT, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Japanese artist Minoru Nomata, his first in China.
Drawn from several series, the presentation includes works from 1987 to 2020 and highlights the artist’s continued focus on imaginary architecture and ambient landscapes devoid of human presence. The paintings feature forms and structures of indeterminate periods, which emerge from Nomata’s hybrid architectural language – a blend of the industrial, the fantastical, the archaic and the futuristic – and develop from the artist’s iterative process. Often beginning with sketches from a found image, these are then transformed over a period of months, years or even decades. Reflecting upon a condition of monoculture, technological pursuit and overarching human endeavour, Nomata conjures an oneiric world imbued with suspense and uncertainty.
The earliest work in the exhibition reflects Nomata’s interest in Classical, Renaissance and Medieval sources. Titled Decors–5 (1987), it features a bone-white conical tower with doorway and alcoves cut into its volume, on top of which sits the statue of a rider and horse marching eastwards, an abandoned civic monument that, perhaps, once heralded bright new futures. Set against a uniform, earth-tone background, a number of small columns scattered at ground level suggest that this might depict an architectural model, albeit one recording historical ruins rather than proposing tomorrow’s edifices.