This year's Edinburgh Art Festival brings the immersive and complex conceptual world created by Charles Avery to engulf us.
Edinburgh’s annual arts festival sets off 30th July, combining contemporary art exhibitions as well as those of more historic movements. Working with leading art spaces throughout the UK, the festival is a month long happening bringing us exhibitions, events and talks from a wide range of great artists including Charles Avery.
Represented by Ingleby Gallery, Avery is presenting more detailed insight into his imagined island with The People and Things of Onomatopoeia. Beginning in 2004, The Islanders series has continued to present the intricate details of his imagined land, evolving to give the audience understanding of the complexities of the inhabitants’ personalities, the nuances, habits and dislikes of groups and individuals.
Avery’s work has an element of fantasy but is not simply a flat rerun of the genre; there are many aspects of this world that mirror issues in our own society as well as introducing abstract concepts of myths and rumors as a potential reality in this universe, even if only existing as a belief by the inhabitants.
The audience experiences this through a wide multimedia approach to a kind of open-ended storytelling using a narrative text, visual imagery, sculpture and installation on a large scale, often presenting objects used by constituents or posters from the streets of Onomatopoeia. These are used as tools for the audience to interpret and contextualise this world.
To add to the incomplete or continual nature of the work, many of Avery’s sketches are unfinished, giving the feeling that the work continues to live alongside the artist. The inhabitants’ lives do not begin and end during the course of the exhibition, there is an endless scope of story to be told about this place and these people.
It is compelling to think of this fictional world as a form of escapism for both the artist and the audience, however, the complexities it inherits being no less problematic than those of our own society can be somewhat grounding, not allowing us to submit to a utopian fantasy.
In addition to this Avery is also presenting a tree from Onomatopoeia cast in bronze at Edinburgh train station as part of the festival which runs until 30th August 2015.