Charles Avery

(UK) b.1973

Lives and works in London

Since 2004 Charles Avery has devoted his practice to the perpetual description of an imaginary island. Through drawings, sculptures and texts, Avery depicts the topology, cosmology and inhabitants of this fictional territory. The project can be read as a meditation on some of the central themes of philosophy, on art-making, and on the colonization and ownership of the world of ideas.

As the centrepiece of his presentation at the TB2014, Avery will insert an ornamental bronze pool into one of the galleries. The pool is transported from the Jadindagadendar, the municipal park in the town of Onomatopoeia – capital city, port and gateway to the Island – a Cartesian garden where every specimen embodies a mathematical idea or primary quality or phenomenon. These botanical gardens are formed not from living specimens, but rather from artificial trees and flowers which the Islanders understand as a refutation of Nature. Within the pool stir the Ninth – sacred eels (whose meat is a bastion of the Islanders’ economy). The most primitive, linear and directional of beings, the eels represent will.

The city itself is contained by a fortified wall, along which at regular intervals are towers, atop which fires burn, illuminating the gloaming and acting as a deterrent to the unknown threats that inhabit the rampant emptiness beyond. Generally, the inhabitants of Onomatopoeia keep resolutely to the city limits and the well lit environs just beyond; however, there is a brand of adventure tourism whereby young men and women come to the Island to risk their lives in search of a solitary beast called the Noumenon, which is held to dwell somewhere in the wilderness: a being which has eluded each previous generation, yet still they come by the boatload, undeterred.

Those citizens of the Island of a rational bent prefer to argue the (non) existence or the singularity of the Noumenon from the comfort of the bars and salons in town. This endless argument is known as the Eternal Dialectic: a philosophical discussion that has diversified into a complex system of different creeds and sub-factions, each one sporting a particular kind of headgear representing their individual allegiance. 

Recent solo exhibitions include: Pilar Corrias, London (2013); Galerie Perrotin, Paris (2013); FRAC Île-de-France Le Plateau, Paris (2013, 2010); Galleria S.A.L.E.S, Rome (2013); EX3- Centor per l’Arte Contemporanea, Florence (2010); and Kunstverein Hanover, Germany (2010). Recent group exhibitions include: The Collection and Usher Gallery, Lincoln, UK (2013); Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne (2012); and the 4th TATE Triennial, London (2009). Avery also represented Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and participated in the British Art Show 7 and Folkestone Triennial in 2011.

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