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The Islanders: An Introduction: Charles Avery Opens at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Charles Avery (b. 1973), Untitled (Duculi) (2006), Pencil and gouache on paper, wooden frame, with brass plate, 103.5 x 139 cm, Courtesy of private collection, The Netherlands.

EDINBURGH.- An exhibition by one of the most creative and thought-provoking Scottish artists of the last decade invites you on an expedition to an imaginary island. The Islanders: An Introduction is the latest installment in an epic four year project to describe life on an island created by the artist Charles Avery. Using texts, drawings, installations and sculpture Avery has detailed the landscape, customs, and culture of his island, creating a challenging space for philosophical inquiry.

The Islanders: An Introduction will bring together the project so far, including several new works which will be shown in Scotland for the first time. Among these will be a large-scale sculptural installation, which was purchased by the National Galleries of Scotland in 2007. This sculpture depicts one of the most striking features of Avery’s invented world - a motley group of deities, who live on a wasteland called The Plane of the Gods. This is the Island’s most popular tourist attraction and is home to the erect and threatening August Snakes. Visitors to the exhibition will also discover mysterious landscapes such as the Eternal Forest, where the mythical beast the Noumenon is rumoured to live. Other exhibits include a large taxidermy sculpture of a fearsome Ridable, a magnificent specimen of the islands wildlife and the bitterly disgusting, but ruinously addictive gin-soaked pickled eggs which are sold in the island’s marketplace.

Inspired by his upbringing on the island of Mull - and by time spent in Rome, and Hackney Avery’s work has its roots in figures as diverse as William Blake, Joseph Beuys, Joseph Kosuth, Jorge Luis Borges, Ludwig Wittgenstein and P.G. Wodehouse. Once complete, Avery plans for his Island project to be encapsulated in several large, leather-bound encyclopedic volumes.

Charles Avery was born in Oban in 1973 and is based in London. In 2007, he was selected with five other artists to represent Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale, as part of the Scotland and Venice exhibition. In 2003 he was one of four finalists in the Award for Italian Art, shown in that year’s Venice Biennale. He has recently been selected for the forthcoming TATE Triennial in 2009. Following its exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, The Islanders: An Introduction will tour to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

The Islanders: An Introduction is organised in collaboration with Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art. A book published by Parasol unit will accompany the exhibition, with contributions by Nicolas Bourriaud, Tom Morton and Ziba de Weck Ardalan.

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