Curated by Tom Morton
Monday 9 October 2006 to Sunday 3 December 2006
Private View: Monday 9 October 2006, 6:30PM to 8:30PM
Featuring large-scale drawings, models, diagrams and text, ‘The Plane of the Gods’ is the latest chapter in Avery’s epic ‘Islanders’ project, which sees the artist describe the topology and cosmology of an imaginary island, whose every feature – from its geology to its flora and fauna – embodies a philosophical proposition, problem or solution. Avery’s mapping of the Island over a projected 10-year period may be interpreted as a meditation on making (and circulating) art, on what constitutes the spine of an artistic practice, and on the impossible business of seeking ‘truth’. Once the project is complete, it will be encapsulated in several large, leather-bound encyclopaedic volumes.
Inhabited by a pantheon of curious deities – including an aged bather, a giant number 2, a gnarled beast named Aleph Nul, an apparently bottomless hole, and the platypus-like Mr. Impossible – ‘The Plane of the Gods’ is the island’s Olympus, brought unceremoniously down to earth. Existing in a horizontal relationship to the rest of the island, its spatial position suggests the domestication of the divine. The gods, here, are only one set of facts among many others, to be worshipped, gawped at, or simply ignored.
Avery’s art is characterised by formal beauty, humour, and a spirit of philosophical enquiry. While its genealogy might be said to include the work of (among others) William Blake, P.G. Wodehouse, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Beuys and Joseph Kosuth, it is perhaps best understood as something like an artistic parallel to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) – a text of which the philosopher wrote ‘My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognises them as senseless’.
Charles Avery has exhibited widely both in Britain and internationally. His recent solo exhibitions include ‘The Islanders: an introduction – part II’ at Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin (2006), ‘The Islanders: an introduction’ at doggerfisher, Edinburgh (2005), ‘AVATARS’ at Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome (2005), ‘The Hunter’ at Man in the Holocene, London (2004). In 2003, his work was shown as part of the 50th Venice Biennale. He has also participated in numerous group shows, at venues including the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Avignon (2005), the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Glasgow (2003); Gallerie Civico d’Arte Contemporanea di Siracusa, Sicily (2003), Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (2003)
Charles Avery is represented by Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin, Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome, and doggerfisher, Edinburgh.
Supported by Arts Council England and The Elephant Trust