VITRINE participates for the first time in Material Vol.7 in Mexico City, MX, with a solo project titled ‘The Contents of a Long Unconsulted Pocket’ by British-Bermudian artist Charlie Godet Thomas. Thomas' work employs a wide range of approaches including writing, painting, sculpture, assemblage, photography, sound and video, and is concerned with the connections between visual art and literature, the act of writing, the autobiographical, the tragic and the humorous.
Thomas’ installation centres on a new large scale assemblage titled 'Green and Pleasant Land' from his series 'Illuminated Manuscripts'. The work takes its title from Blake's poetic preface to his epic, 'Milton: A Poem in Two Books'. The poem is better known today as the hymn "Jerusalem". In Thomas' parallel, the "Dark Satanic Mills" of the industrial revolution are replaced with more contemporary concerns, such as careless waste disposal, pollution, climate crisis and greed.
The notions of flow and punctuation, as well as those of positive and negative space play a central role in Thomas’ work. These ideas are exemplified in the artists Marginalia series, in which Thomas repurposes offcuts from the making of his ‘Illuminated Manuscript’ series, elevating the potentially overlooked fragments by arranging them amongst the starkness of a sculptural "blank page". These works, which could be considered as painterly poems, hang in the installation. They investigate the importance of negative space in the disciplines of both visual art and poetry, or perhaps more simply, a testament to looking closely at what is around us so as not to automatically discard what we might think of as worthless or superfluous. The pieces are cast in clear silicon, a material which is recurrent in Thomas’ practice, the catalysed nature of the material gives a sense of something being held still in time, paused during a moment of undoing.
The final work in the installation, is a new piece from Thomas’ series of intricate new sculptures, titled ‘Rooftop Poems’ (2019). These works take their lead from the ‘Marginalia’ series, in that they also seek to place the overlooked into an elaborate display structure. The sculptures are inspired by the rooftop billboards of Mexico City, where Thomas lives and works, which often stand blank awaiting rental. Thomas is intrigued by the contradictory scale and prominent placement of the structures in relation to the quietness of the void of their blank “message”. In ‘Rooftop Poems’, Thomas exaggerated this muted quality by reducing the scale of the billboards down, adorning them with fragments of paper palettes which Thomas uses to paint his large scale ‘Illuminated Manuscripts’.
Charlie Godet Thomas (b.1985, London. British–Bermudian) currently lives and works in Mexico City. He studied a BA in Fine Art (Sculpture) at Manchester School of Art (2009) and an MA in Fine Art (Sculpture) at the Royal College of Art, London (2014).Thomas has been exhibited internationally at galleries, institutions, biennials and fairs, including: Frieze Sculpture 2019, London, UK; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; Bermuda Biennial, The Bermuda National Gallery, BM; Ladrón galería, Mexico City, MX; Carillon Gallery, Texas, US; Assembly Point, London, UK; Nicoletti Contemporary, London, UK; Paradise Works, Manchester, UK; Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK; Cactus, Liverpool, UK; Home-Platform, Bristol, UK; Telfer Gallery, Glasgow, UK; RCA/ ECA Edinburgh Sculpture Court, Edinburgh, UK; Poppostions, Brussels, BE; and The Manchester Contemporary, UK.