ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

WHAT'S NEW?
EVENTS
BOOKS IN THE MEDIA
AT FIRST SIGHT
FEATURED IMAGES
EX LIBRIS
ARTBOOK INTERVIEWS
EXCERPTS & ESSAYS
FROM THE SHELVES

RECENT POSTS

DATE 10/5/2014

The Heart Is Not a Metaphor: Robert Gober at MoMA

DATE 10/3/2014

Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor

DATE 10/2/2014

Books for Life: Steidl

DATE 10/1/2014

Gordon Parks: Collected Works

DATE 10/1/2014

'Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth' Featured in the New York Times

DATE 9/30/2014

Luck, Laughs, Lust & Love: Chloé Griffin on Cookie Mueller

DATE 9/30/2014

Termite Art: 'What Nerve: Alternative Figures in American Art' in NY Times

DATE 9/29/2014

Jim Shaw: The Hidden World

DATE 9/29/2014

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas

DATE 9/29/2014

Now Available: A New, Expanded Edition of the Teacher's Manual to 'In the Making'

DATE 9/26/2014

ARTBOOK @ NYABF

DATE 9/25/2014

K8 Hardy 'How To: Untitled Runway Show' Signing at the NYABF

DATE 9/25/2014

Join OSMOS for a Kon Trubkovich: Leap Second Book Signing at the NYABF

DATE 9/24/2014

ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 Presents Cory Arcangel at the NYABF Opening

DATE 9/24/2014

ARTBOOK Presents Cory Arcangel One Night Installation and Signing at the NYABF Opening

DATE 9/24/2014

ARTBOOK Presents K8 Hardy Signing at the NYABF

DATE 9/23/2014

Paul Chan: New New Testament

DATE 9/22/2014

Cory Arcangel: All The Small Things

DATE 9/21/2014

Kelley Walker Book Signing at 192 Books

DATE 9/20/2014

Celebrate 'Ray Johnson: Not Nothing' at the MoMA Library Wednesday Night

DATE 9/20/2014

ARTBOOK + SWISS INSTITUTE Launch Two New Books by Paul Chan

DATE 9/19/2014

What Nerve! Destroy All Monsters

DATE 9/19/2014

The Essential Cy Twombly: Beautiful in Their Subversion of 'Beauty'

DATE 9/18/2014

A Country of Cities Now Available in eBook Editions

DATE 9/18/2014

What Nerve! Christina Ramberg Rediscovered

DATE 9/17/2014

ARTBOOK @ SI Launch Party

DATE 9/16/2014

What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present

DATE 9/16/2014

Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret: Chandigarh, India

DATE 9/15/2014

Just One Good Chair

DATE 9/15/2014

ARTBOOK @ SWISS INSTITUTE Presents the World's Best Books on Contemporary Chair Design

DATE 9/14/2014

Joan Rothfuss to Sign 'Topless Cellist' at Walker Art Center

DATE 9/12/2014

George Herms: The River Book

DATE 9/11/2014

ARTBOOK Launches a New Pop Up Bookstore at Swiss Institute In Soho

DATE 9/11/2014

New York Is ...

DATE 9/10/2014

The Essential Cy Twombly

DATE 9/10/2014

Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller

DATE 9/8/2014

Reflection, Illumination, Luminosity, Shadows and Patterns: Andrew Wyeth Looking Out, Looking In

DATE 9/6/2014

Superlight: Rethinking How Our Homes Impact the Earth

DATE 9/6/2014

'What Nerve' Previewed in ARTnews

DATE 9/4/2014

Walter Keller

DATE 9/4/2014

Henry Taylor

DATE 9/2/2014

'The Best Most Useless Dress: Selected Writings of Claudia La Rocco' Launch Event at The Kitchen

DATE 9/2/2014

Soviet Space Dogs

DATE 9/1/2014

Mathemysticism in John Severson's SURF

DATE 8/29/2014

John Severson's SURF

DATE 8/27/2014

Jaromír Funke: Between Construction and Emotion

DATE 8/25/2014

Jo Ann Callis: Other Rooms

DATE 8/25/2014

Susan S. Szenasy and John Hockenberry to Speak at the AIA Center for Architecture

DATE 8/23/2014

Laura Lima

DATE 8/21/2014

Ed Atkins

DATE 8/19/2014

Building as Ornament


THOMAS EVANS | DATE 5/3/2011

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia (Walther König/Koenig Books, London, 2011)

Of the many inspired curatorial concepts that Harald Szeemann devised in the course of his career, one of the most suggestive was “individual mythologies.” Szeemann debuted the term as the guiding thesis of the legendary Documenta 5, 1972; he later explicated it (in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist collected in the latter’s A Brief History of Curating) as “intense intentions that can take diverse shapes: people create their own sign systems, which take time to be deciphered.” Nebulously broad as this may sound, what Szeemann intended by “individual mythologies” was an art in which a unified system, or world view or cosmology manifests itself across a range of media—via a repertoire of signs and symbols, as in Marcel Broodthaers’ eagles, pipes and bricks, or Matt Mullican’s generic Isotype symbols; or through allegory, as in the cosmologies of William Blake, or Paul Thek, whom Szeemann included in the 1972 Individual Mythologies show. Such cosmologies would operate independently of existing religious, scientific and philosophical systems (though inevitably borrowing from them).

Among the few contemporary instances of “Individual Mythology,” Scottish artist Charles Avery (born 1974)’s The Islanders project stands out for its especial richness and spirit of adventure. In 2004, Avery invented an island (known just as “the Island”) and began to populate it with natives, industries, colonists, philosophical systems and beliefs partly drawn from such thinkers as Kant and Heidegger—all illustrated in large drawings and sculptures.
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
The Islanders is a philosophical allegory, somewhat in the fashion of a Borges parable, with problems posed through encounters between competing or conflicting positions. Much of its thinking takes place through the Hunter, a would-be anthropologist from Triangleland (the name for everywhere that is outside the Island) who pursues a beast called the Noumenon, in a plotline that allows Avery to explore various allegories on the subject of absolute truth. (The Noumenon is a philosophical term associated with Kant’s “thing-in-itself,” i.e. an unknowable entity existing independently of human cognition.)

The Island’s port is named Onomatopoeia, and this second volume in what Avery envisages as a multivolume encyclopedia on The Islanders gives a detailed rendering of what the local businesses and flyposter ads around the port of a philosophical allegory might look like:

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

“If the drawings are compelling, it is because of the sheer effort I got to and my earnest attempt to portray a place to the best of my abilities,” Avery told a recent interviewer. “It’s as though I have an intense conviction about how this place and its people look.” The Islanders differs from other artistic mythologies in which symbolism is often privileged over description, as Avery’s drawing skill takes the enterprise almost to the realm of the virtual in its illustrative zeal; perhaps it also helps obviate the hazard of author-centric solipsism particular to individual mythologies. With each new installment in the project, Avery throws open another vista onto a fresh corner or hinterland of his philosophical playground.


Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia
Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

Charles Avery: Onomatopoeia

WALTHER KöNIG/KOENIG BOOKS, LONDON
Hbk, 9 x 12.75 in. / 80 pgs / 22 b&w.



ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the artworld's favorite source for books on art and culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
155 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10013
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2013 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com