SALON/Big Bang: NoMan at the Amstelkerk
NOMAN creates installations composed of separate sculptures that are a
distillation of everyday reality. These are abstractions of form,
material and colour, just the elements themselves. The ingredients for
our imagery are drawn from the world around us, but do not refer back to
it; they are part of a new Utopia.
By isolating objects from their functionality and altering their form
(re-tailoring them, as it were) we breathe new life into them, as with
the curtains in the NOSHO project. There is nothing that
alludes to the former use of the drapes and we imbue them with a new
lease of live, giving them a personality and a distinctive identity.
The proportion of the forms to the human scale is highly important
for this personification; they should fit a human being, as it were. The
sculptures therefore suggest the calm, silent presence of a notional
character. This serves as a means for us to encourage the sculptures to
enter into a relationship with the public, but also establishes
relationships between the objects themselves and between the elements
from which they are composed. We do this so that the public can
recognise themselves in this human scale.
These constituent elements imply a common bond, a familiar origin,
and this is what makes the staging complete: in their group formation
the sculptures function like a ‘super-organism’ or tribe that manifests
itself in conjunction with or in antithesis to the public; rather than
repel the public, the installation subsequently integrates them.
The complete installations are evocative of fictitious scenes
featuring abstract characters. The palette and composition propagates an
insistent, ominous atmosphere. The references to what we know and
recognise in the images are fragments, isolated insinuations. By means
of concealment and omission we ratchet up the suspense in this alienated
world. The resulting tension generates a subconscious flux of feelings
in onlookers, putting their senses on alert.
This dark layer plays an important part in our work and we believe
that it is also deployable in media other than sculpture. Proceeding
from this idea we produced a film, The Final Result Should Be Wonderful,
which is an assemblage of suggestive elements and in that regard
continues a line of approach which is similar to that in the rest of our
work. Once again the image comprises a choreographed grouping, in this
case of real people, among whom there is a mutual bond. This bond is
reinforced by the introduction of a deed, namely the action/reaction of
passing on the kiss.
A characteristic feature of the formal idiom we employ is a
multiplicity of materials presented in simple, abstract forms. For
example, the NOCOM installation is composed of 4,000 individual
threads that are fashioned into solid units, transforming the fragility
into powerful, abstract shapes. What we aim to achieve is an aesthetic
that makes the public feel they are involved with a complexity that does
not repel, but is clear-cut, intelligible and orderly. Such complexity
simultaneously implies that there are multiple angles of approach and
observation points. In general the works have no front or rear, nor do
they direct the public to adopt a particular standpoint. Unequivocal
perception does not constitute an interesting or realistic
representation of the world as we experience and perceive it.
The creation of our images stems from an intrinsic, intuitive mode of
collaboration. The abstract language that we employ as a collaborative
duo is one that we mutually and intuitively understand. It is not a
verbal language, given that the aim of our method of working is to break
free of the world as we know it. It is possible for us to communicate
with each other in a visual language through which we understand each
other very clearly. For example, during the development of a work we
both sense when a component might need to be shifted an inch to the
left. For us this indicates that there are certain truths which are
impossible to pin down on rational grounds, which provides the
opportunity to connect with each other spiritually. It is this
connection that we are ultimately seeking to establish with our public
as well: we do not provide them with a narrative and the situation in
which they find themselves is not made explicit. This means that there
is an intuitive exchange of information rather than a rationalised
imparting of information.
NOMAN was founded in 2010 by Lara Tolman and Selina Parr to work together under one name.