Through an extended series of meticulous drawings and bold contemporary sculptures, London-based artist Charles Avery has spread his art worldwide.
Avery’s entire body of work since 2004 has been devoted to the exploration and expansion of the customs, people, and cosmologies of this imagined place. Most recently, he has focused on the capital city of Onomatopoeia, where its denizens (who resemble humans) attend art openings, ride bikes, and wear clothing that resists identification with any single era, country, or culture. By conjuring this ahistorical, apolitical world, Avery addresses themes of utopia, dystopia, and globalization.
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 Boijamas Van Beunigan, Rotterdam in 2009.
Avery represented Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, participated in the British Art Show 7 and Folkestone Triennial in 2011, and was included in the 2014 Taipei Biennial – The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, curated by Nicholas Bourriaud.
Charles Avery has devoted his career over the past decade to an imaginary, nameless island. His sculptures, drawings, installations and texts — even if seemingly unrelated — culminate in the description of a specific, fictional world like an anthropological study. Over the course of his work from 2004 to today, details about the island have revealed themselves. In fact, its fate isn’t so different from many other countries formerly under British rule.