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 4/3/2015

James Mollison: Playground

DATE 3/30/2015

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

DATE 3/29/2015

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

DATE 3/28/2015

Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series

DATE 3/27/2015

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: In/Out Studio Launch at 192 Books

DATE 3/26/2015

Pedro Reyes: The Permanent Revolution

DATE 3/25/2015

The Birth of Rock and Roll

DATE 3/25/2015

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Cosmic Geometry

DATE 3/24/2015

Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings 1967-1982

DATE 3/22/2015

Masao Yamamoto: Small Things in Silence

DATE 3/20/2015

Victor Moscoso: Psychedelic Drawings Reviewed in NY Times

DATE 3/20/2015

Mujercitos!

DATE 3/20/2015

The Forever Now

DATE 3/19/2015

Robert Adams: A Road Through Shore Pine

DATE 3/18/2015

Yves Saint Laurent's Studio: Mirror and Secrets

DATE 3/17/2015

Olaf Otto Becker: Reading the Landscape

DATE 3/14/2015

Modern Times: The Age of Photography

DATE 3/13/2015

Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman

DATE 3/13/2015

Thomas Ruff: Editions 1988–2014

DATE 3/12/2015

Laurie Simmons

DATE 3/10/2015

David Wojnarowicz: Brush Fires in the Social Landscape

DATE 3/10/2015

Ken Schles: Night Walk

DATE 3/9/2015

ARTBOOK INTERVIEW: Badlands' 'New Lovers' Erotica Author Wednesday Black

DATE 3/8/2015

Marlene Dumas: Sweet Nothings

DATE 3/7/2015

Albert Maysles: 1926-2015

DATE 3/6/2015

Vern Blosum

DATE 3/5/2015

ARTBOOK, Swiss Institute & DIS Magazine Launch #artselfie

DATE 3/5/2015

Sturtevant: Drawing Double Reversal

DATE 3/3/2015

Björk

DATE 3/3/2015

ARTBOOK | D.A.P. Congratulates Paul Chan, Winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize and More!

DATE 3/2/2015

Tomma Abts: Mainly Drawings

DATE 3/2/2015

Shirana Shahbazi: Monstera

DATE 3/1/2015

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: In/Out Studio

DATE 3/1/2015

James Mollison: Playground

DATE 2/28/2015

Man Ray: Human Equations

DATE 2/27/2015

On Kawara — Silence

DATE 2/26/2015

Christina Ramberg: Corset Urns & Other Inventions

DATE 2/24/2015

Hubert de Givenchy

DATE 2/23/2015

Swedish Details

DATE 2/23/2015

Art Books Continue to Insist on Being Committed to Print

DATE 2/22/2015

AIGA Presents Louise Sandhaus, Barbara Glauber, Lucille Tenazaas & Alexandra Lange on 'California Graphic Design'

DATE 2/19/2015

Jacqueline Humphries

DATE 2/19/2015

The Art of Smallfilms

DATE 2/18/2015

Making Design

DATE 2/17/2015

Arctic

DATE 2/17/2015

Peter Fischli & Nancy Spector in Conversation at the Swiss Institute

DATE 2/15/2015

Studio 54

DATE 2/15/2015

Titian

DATE 2/14/2015

STEIDL at Privet Lives

DATE 2/14/2015

Sweets for the Sweet

DATE 2/13/2015

Making Pictures: Three for a Dime


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