Charlie Godet Thomas is concerned with the connections between visual art and literature, the act of writing, the autobiographical, the tragic and the humorous. His work is summoned from unlikely places; be it street signage, American drain cleaning products, documentaries about motorcycle stuntmen, or an extensive archive of personal photographs.
Trauma and photography have some similarities that intrigue Thomas, namely that a traumatic experience can render a moment continually present in a person’s life, whilst photography has the same ability to hold a moment still, ever recurring by proxy of the image. His manipulation of his source material towards total abstraction comes from his desire for the images to be something else, the works become, as Thomas says, “Liberated from the brutality of their content.”
A recurring motif in Thomas’ work is an insinuation of weight and movement, which he achieves through playing off of one material against the other. Cast rubber is used to hold images or leave them slumped corporeally on the floor, rubber walking sticks hang forlornly through the space or thin wooden dowels are held in tension seemingly ready to snap at any given moment.
Thomas is keenly aware of the crossover between artists and writers, images and words. Titles and phrasings are essential in his practice, some are jokes and witticisms, whilst others point us towards artworks, books or poems, which may give us a way into his heavily coded practice.
In recent audio and video works, Thomas sources and re-presents found texts, projecting the words into a space of contemplation and stillness for the listener away from the context in which they were originally written. In a deadpan voice, Thomas speaks the words in a continual loop, pointing us towards the inconsistencies and problems of language.
Charlie Godet Thomas (b.1985, London. British/Bermudian) currently lives and works in London. Having studied a BA in Fine Art (Sculpture) at Manchester School of Art in 2009, he graduated with an MA in Fine Art (Sculpture) from the Royal College of Art, London in 2014 where he was awarded the Bermuda Arts Council Scholarship and the Peter Leitner Scholarship.
Thomas’ first major solo exhibition was ‘A Method for Writing/A Method for Making’, BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK (2014); further solo exhibitions include: ‘WHAT IS IT, THIS TIME?’ Lily Brooke, London (2018); ‘Belly Up’ (duo with Bryn Lloyd-Evans), Lacuna, London (2018); ‘Roman-fleuve’, VITRINE, Basel (2017); ‘Internal Rhyme’, Lardrón Galería, Mexico City (2017); ‘Bildungsroman’, Carillon Gallery, Forth Worth, Texas (2017); ‘Strandline’, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Leeds (2016); ‘Torschlusspanik’, VITRINE, London (2015); ‘To Be Is To Do, To Do Is To Be, Do Be Do Be Do’, Telfer Gallery, Glasgow (2015); and ‘In Comes the Good Air, Out Goes the Bad Air, In Comes the Good Air’, Cactus, Liverpool (2015).
Thomas’ was in residence at Caribbean Linked IV at Ateliers ’89 in Oranjestad, Aruba (2016); at Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas, US (2017); and at Atelier Mondial, Basel, CH (2017). He was commissioned for SCULPTURE AT Bermondsey Square, London in 2017. His work was presented by VITRINE at The Manchester Contemporary 2015 (with Tim Etchells) and 2017, and a solo booth, Poppostions, Brussels (2018). He was commissioned for SCULPTURE AT Bermondsey Square, London in 2017.
He has been exhibited Internationally, recent group exhibitions include:’A Mission to Touch the Sun’, at Enclave (August 2018); ‘Identify your limitations, acknowledge your periphery’, VITRINE, Basel (2017); ‘…in Dark Times’, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2017); Bermuda Biennial, The Bermuda National Gallery, Bermuda (2012, 2014 and 2016); ‘Incunabula’, Norwich Cathedral Library (2015); RCA/ ECA Edinburgh Sculpture Court, Edinburgh, Scotland (2015); ‘An evanescent fix’, VITRINE, London (2015); ‘Escape to a Sparkling Moment’, Bloc Projects, Sheffield UK (2015); ‘Bending Light’, Home-Platform, Bristol, UK (2014); ‘END’, Cactus, Liverpool, UK (2014); Royal College of Art WIP Show, RCA, London, UK (2013) and Brussels, Belgium (2012).
Charlie Godet Thomas
Enjoy the Trade Winds from the Comfort of an Air-conditioned Bus (Thicket)
Timber, Speakers, Printed fabric, paper, glue, steel and looped 2.1 sound