Supervening Charles Avery’s mind and fiction

by Geert Lebens, 23 March 2015

Charles Avery Presents his work of the past five years in his exhibition called “What’s the matter with Idealism?”. His work features installations, drawings, videos, objects and texts. The artworks visualize an imaginary island, a place where he creates it’s own society. Bound to his own origins and contemporary society he deconstructs the conventional structures and creates a whole new world that lives with it’s own struggles and has it’s own logics of social behaviour. Driven by philosophy he reflects contemporary problems onto his fictive world. Behind his fantasy world lies a foundation of philosophical issues and thoughts. Depicted and even mentioned in his work are for instance Joseph Beuys or William Blake.

These artworks do not only represent the fictional island and it’s capital Onomatopoeia but they also reflect Avery’s relation to his imaginary world. In many of his works you can find signs of his imaginary presence into the scenes he created. Among his works we can even find maps of the location of the island in relation to it’s surroundings. It seems Avery is aware of his location as a portraitist of scenes in this fictional world and therefore part of his self created society. The different pieces in this exhibition seem to be substances of a coherent whole, directly or indirectly linked to one-another. This becomes clear when looking closely to one of his giant drawings. You will find tiny drafts with arrows pointing into the direction where the streets head out of sight, saying “government” or “MoAO” (the local museum). Avery not only created a world that’s a part of him but he is part of himself. He seems to be an observer of his own fantasies and seems to attempt to figure out where his thoughts come from. He seems to try to relate the thoughts to reality and seems fascinated by the amount of power he can gain over his creations. Creations that will be accepted by the audience as well. Leaving him in freedom to form his own perception of the real and the unreal, a boundary that seems disputable.

Avery seems to long to a detailed and filled up map of his fictional world. Binding the audience to the details in his work shows of his dedication to release us from our trusted world, making us feel like tourists and shows us the small but important details that define the cultural values and social coherence of his culture. His objects, placed all around the rooms become explained by his drawings, creating a context for interpretation that cut us loose from conventions. Therefore Avery’s work is intriguing and catchy but pulls you in as soon you explore the relation between the different works.

Another detail that becomes revealed when looking closely is his obsession with mathematics. Carefully set up structures to form patterns are everywhere to be found, as well as the phyllotaxis; the curved line that can be found everywhere in natures own construction methods, which is based on the Fibonacci Retracement. In his book he even shows the maps of a series of islands organised in the shape of a phyllotaxis curve. Charles Avery’s work seems to become almost as mysterious as our own world when looking closer and longer to it. It might even make us aware of the complexity of our own world, our intelligence and our own existence.