It is with great pleasure that we announce the first gallery exhibition in the Netherlands by Charles Avery (Oban, 1973) since his solo museum presentation at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in 2009.
The exhibition will take place across both gallery spaces and will feature new sculptures, drawings and film works.Since 2004 Avery has been describing, in the form of drawings, texts, and objects, a fictional Island. The Island is located at the centre of an archipelago of innumerable constituents. The gateway to the Island is the town of Onomatopoeia, once the stepping off point of the pioneers who first came to the place, turned colonial outpost, turned boom town, bustling metropolis, depression ravaged slum, and regenerated city of culture and tourist destination.
For the exhibition at Grimm Gallery, Avery presents new works that explore as yet entirely undepicted features of the Island.
There is The Jadindagadendar, the name of the municipal park of Onomatopoeia. On show will be several specimens of the flora, including a ‘weeping’ tree of over four meters in height and a meticulous architectural study of the tree, demonstrating the pure mathematical system which gives rise to its form.
There is The Qoro-Qoros: the given name of the nearendless, miasmic network of windless mounds and pools which separates the Island from its colonial master, the state known as Triangland. A spectacular four meter drawing depicts three individuals attempting to navigate this monotonous wilderness, home to bloated giant eels who have become disorientated in the labyrinth of stagnant waters and who live by feeding off the other luckless beings (including humanity) who have come to pass here. It seems that these people— unlike the subsistence fishermen who, unable to afford a boat, come to harvest the great eels from their pools with a view to trading their insipid flesh — are visiting simply out of curiosity and for the thrill of jumping from qoro to spongy qoro. (A dangerous game to play because although one may push off from the rocky land that borders this territory with a jaunty spring in one’s step and that one may continue with a feeling of near weightless indomitability and travel some distance from the Terra Firma, all of a sudden one will be overcome with fatigue and the spongy mounds that had propelled you forth start to suck you in. That phenomenon is what is called The lull.)
And then there is the relatively comforting bustle of Onomatopoeia. Another large scale drawing depicts a party of young women and men, gathered on the quayside with cart loads of provisions, ready to set out on a expedition in search of the Noumenon; a creature which is believed by some to exist, uniquely, somewhere in the dark wilderness of the Island and has been held to have done so, without capture, for as long as people have sought it. The party is full of enthusiasm, checking theirequipment, studying maps, ingesting recreational drugs and sky-larking.
In the background, on the gable-end wall of the Penrose Trading Co. there are several poster-advertisements — some of which are rendered full size and full colour in the gallery space — promoting businesses and cultural activity of Onomatopoeia. Central to the Island’s cultural identity is the phenomenon known as The Eternal Dialectic, an endless philosophical discussion which is acted out in the form of debates, happenings and theatrical revues, covering a gamut of philosophical activity from the Logical Positivists to the Metas, a band of thugs who issued via a poster campaign the declaration that they renounced the Dialectic in favour of violence (which they hold to be the purest from of expression) and who roam the streets in search of rival factions to assault.
There is no overarching theme to this exhibition beyond the structure of the Island itself, although ideas of eternal return and pure mathematics are especially apparent. The work here represents the output from several new explorations into various aspects of the Island, the product of six months of intense and happy activity in the studio.
Born in Oban, Scotland in 1973, Charles Avery lives and works in London. The first most comprehensive presentation of The Islanders project, ‘The Islanders: An Introduction’ was exhibited at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, london in 2008 and toured to The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, rotterdam in 2009.
Other solo presentations include the exhibition, Onomatopoeia, Part 1, which was exhibited at EX3- Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Florence in 2010 and toured to Kunstverein hanover and Frac Ile-de-France/le Plateau, Paris in 2011. Recent group exhibitions include life Forms, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2009); A Walk in Your Mind, Hayward Gallery, (2009); A Duck for Mr Darwin, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, (2009), and Altermodern: 4th Tate Triennial, london (2009). Avery represented Scotland at t he 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and participated in the British Art Show 7 and Folkestone Triennial in 2011.