Artist’s Talk – Charles Avery in conversation with Oliver Basciano: Sat 11 Mar, 4pm
Study #15 looks in depth at the work of British artist Charles Avery (b. 1973, Oban, UK). The exhibition centres on a large pencil and ink drawing made in 2010 from the David Roberts Collection. The Ninth Resort depicts a dock scene from ‘The Island’, the epic fiction to which Avery has devoted his practice since 2004. In the dusk gloom beneath a high dark horizon, the small boat ‘Subsistance’ returns with its haul of ninth, the local eels central to Island diet, culture and economy. Barefooted boys fish off the quay and long-nosed kepews, indigenous Island scavengers, clamber over the corrugated roofs of a packing shed and a popular rustic café, The Ninth Resort.
This exhibition opens with the Hunter, an explorer protagonist whose arrival on its shores introduces the viewer to the Island, and whose discovery of its landscapes, population and customs guides our own. The next room looks at the Duculi, several gods, a tragic creature whose two canine bodies are fused at the neck in a blind eternal struggle. The centre of the exhibition addresses the city: both the metropolitan Place de la Révolution at the heart of the capital Onomatopoeia, lined with geometric monuments and bustling crowds of cyclists; and the more dingy industrial margins including The Ninth Resort. A bronze bust crowned by a tall structural hat introduces the philosopher inhabitants of the Island, whose Dooks wear elaborate headwear signalling their adherence to one of many philosophical sub-schools.
The final room collates materials selected by the artist to make visible his broad studio practice, including furniture, designed wallpaper, books, maquettes, sketches and texts.
The Island’s geography and anthropology are intricately conceived and revealed through Avery’s diverse works. As well as drawings and texts, he produces objects, posters, furniture and jewellery that substantiate the Island. Although rooted in Avery’s own upbringing on the Scottish island Mull, the landscape, architecture and anthropology of The Island are evolved through diverse mathematical and philosophical systems.
A new text by curator Tom Morton looking in depth at Untitled (The Ninth Resort) has been commissioned to accompany the project.
DRAF Studies are a series of focused case-studies of works from the David Roberts Collection. Each presentation centres on a single work, displayed on its own in a gallery with a printed booklet. The commissioned writer studies the work in depth: from its techniques, origin and history to its position in the artist’s practice and contemporary debates. Previous Studies include works by Victor Man, Carole Bove, Bruce McLean, Martin Boyce, Boyle Family, Michael Simpson, Yto Barrada, Sterling Ruby, Ida Applebroog, Andreas Slominski, Etel Adnan, Phillip Guston, Fiona Banner and Rosemarie Trockel.
Charles Avery (b.1973, Oban, Scotland) lives and works in London and Mull. Solo exhibitions include: The People And Things of Onomatopoeia, Ingelby Gallery, Edingburgh, Scotland (2015), What’s the matter with Idealism?, Gemeente Museum, The Hague – NL (2015), Vitrines: Charles Avery, L’Antenne, Le Plateau, FRAC Ile de France, Paris; Place de la Revolution, Pilar Corrias, London (2011). Selected group exhibitions include: GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2014); Year After Year: Works on paper from the UBS Art Collection, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2014); Drawing Room, London (2013); British Art Show 7 – In the Days of The Comet, touring (2011); Imagining Islands: Artists and Escape, The Courtauld Gallery (2013); Altermodern, 4th TATE Triennial, London (2009). Avery represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2007.