August 31, 2008 - Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art - Charles Avery
August 31, 2008

Charles Avery

Charles Avery
Untitled (The Eternity Chamber), 2007. Pencil and gouache on card, 100 x 70cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin Collection G.Iannaccone, Milan.

Charles Avery
The Islanders: An Introduction

10 September – 8 November 2008
preview 9 September, 6–8 pm

14 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
info [​at​]

This September Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art will present The Islanders: An Introduction, the latest instalment in Charles Avery’s epic project which began in 2004. For the past four years, Scottish artist Avery has created texts, drawings, installations and sculptures which describe the topology and cosmology of an imaginary island, whose every feature embodies a philosophical proposition, problem or solution. Previous exhibitions have presented chapters in this ongoing endeavour, revealing individual aspects of the Island. For the first time, the whole project thus far will be brought together including several new works. This major exhibition at Parasol unit will be accompanied by a large-scale publication – a work of art in its own right. Following its conclusion at Parasol unit, the exhibition will travel to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

Avery’s mapping of the Island, to be completed over a projected ten-year period, can be interpreted as a meditation on making art and the impossibility of finding ‘truth’. The artist is characterised as a bounty-hunter, retrieving artifacts and documenting scenes from the subjective realm. Some of the works on show will focus in absurd detail, on particulars such as the sale of pickled eggs in the marketplace. Others present mysterious landscapes, such as the Eternal Forest, a place no one can ever reach but where a prized beast called the Noumenon is rumoured to live. A specimen of the Island’s wildlife will also be on show, having been realised in the form of a large taxidermy sculpture. These vivid and intricate works invite the viewer to recreate the Island in their own minds, and to use it as an arena for exploring philosophical conundrums and paradoxes.

Avery’s art is imbued with a formal beauty, humour, and a spirit of philosophical enquiry. It has roots in the work of such diverse figures as William Blake, P.G. Wodehouse, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Beuys, Joseph Kosuth and Ludwig Wittgenstein, but above all contains echoes of Avery’s own life, such as his upbringing on the Isle of Mull. Once this sprawling project is complete, Avery plans for it to be encapsulated in several large, leather-bound encyclopaedic volumes.

Charles Avery (b. 1973) has exhibited widely both in Britain and internationally. His recent solo exhibitions include The Islanders: an introduction – part III, Galerie Arquebuse, Geneva (2007); The Plane of the Gods, Cubitt Gallery, London (2006); The Islanders: an introduction – part II, Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin (2006); The Islanders: an introduction, doggerfisher, Edinburgh (2005); AVATARS, Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome (2005); and The Hunter, Man in the Holocene, London (2004). In 2007, Avery was selected with five other artists to represent Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale, as part of the Scotland and Venice exhibition. He has also participated in numerous group shows including the Lyon Biennale, France (2007); the Athens Biennale, Greece (2007); The Drawing Room, London (2007); Musée d’Art Contemporain, Avignon (2005); The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Glasgow (2003); Gallerie Civico d’Arte Contemporanea di Siracusa, Sicily (2003); and Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (2003). Charles Avery is represented by Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin; Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome; doggerfisher, Edinburgh; and Arquebuse, Geneva.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is a new public space and educational charity where private initiative and public support work hand in hand to create one of London’s most vibrant art institutions. The core activity of Parasol unit is an innovative and thought-provoking exhibition programme showing international and UK-based artists. Each year, Parasol unit mounts four exhibitions in a variety of media, usually accompanied by a publication. In order to encourage the widest possible access to its exhibition programme, the foundation does not charge an admission fee.

Events and Education:

Thursdays at Parasol unit
Starting September 2008, Parasol unit will be organising a series of new events, talks, poetry readings and film screenings every Thursday evening at 7pm during the exhibitions either in the Gallery or the Events Room

Thursday 18 September
Film screening in the Events Room. Free

Thursday 25 September
Poetry reading in the Gallery. Free

Thursday 2 October
First Thursdays event: Tom Morton and Charles Avery in conversation
Tom Morton, curator at the Hayward Gallery and contributing editor at frieze, and Charles Avery will discuss the exhibition and the development of the Islanders project.

Thursday 9 October
Film screening in the Events Room. Free

Thursday 16 October
Film screening in the Events Room. Free

Thursday 23 October
Exhibition tour with Nicolas Bourriaud
The Gulbenkian Curator of Contemporary Art at Tate Britain, Nicolas Bourriaud, will discuss the works in the exhibition and Avery’s wider practice.

Thursday 30 October:
The Big Draw: The Island Next Door

Hackney based artist collective LE GUN will lead a collaborative drawing event in response to Charles Avery’s exhibition The Islanders: An Introduction. Free

Thursday 6 November
First Thursdays event: Exhibition tour with Mark Sladen

Mark Sladen, Director of Exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, will discuss the work of Charles Avery.

Opening hours: Tues-Sat, 10 am-6 pm. Sun 12-5 pm

Parasol unit
foundation for contemporary art

14 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
T +44 (0)20 7490 7373
F +44 (0)20 7490 7373

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
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