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b. 1967, United Kingdom

Gavin Turk Biography

Gavin Turk works and lives in London. The British artist is the pioneer of various sculpture forms, frequently used and commonly appreciated nowadays in British art like bronze, mummification, references from historical and art icons as well as the use of rubbish in artworks. His installations and sculptures deal with issues like identity, authenticity and value of art. Concerned with the transformative effect of the reception by the myth of the artist and the authorship of a work, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. 

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Including his “Nail” sculpture designed for the building One New Change, next to St. Paul Cathedral in London, Gavin Turk produces important art works in public spaces. Turk’s work has been included in many exhibitions such as Istanbul Biennial (1999), ‘Century City’ – Tate Modern London (2001), ‘Remix: Contemporary Art and Pop’, Tate Liverpool (2002) ve ‘Coollustre’, Collection Lambert en Avignon (2003) and 'Pop Life: Art in a Material World' (2009). Turk have been running a community education project based troupe of artist since 2001 with his partner and wife Deborah Curtis named ‘The House of Fairy Tales’. This project is presented in a mobile gallery horse box in Glastonbury and Hay-on-Wye and still exhibited in Edinburgh. 

Among the works of the artist dealing during his career with value and authenticity in art, the piece entitled Revolting Brick is also interesting and significant. In December 2009, Turk was invited to the Bricks exhibition in Southeast London with this piece Revolting Brick, however the day before the exhibition, his work had been stolen and replaced with a fake brick with the heading ‘Thank you and Have a Nice Day, Next’ and was part of a set of 500 bricks that was left at the exhibition venue. Even though the artist was upset at this theft, he was flattered since what happened raised questions about value and worth of art works.

Turk was denied his MA certificate from the Royal College of Art at the age of 24, since, his degree show presentation was consisted of en empty white studio with an English Heritage plaque installed, which simply bore the inscription ‘Gavin Turk / Sculpture / Worked Here 1989-1991.’ The piece brought the artist notoriety in the art world. Soon, his work was discovered by Charles Saatchi and presented in the seminal exhibition ‘Sensation’ in 1997 (with a critical painting in which he adopted the identity of Elvis Presley as depicted by Andy Warhol), making his presence as a central figure in the worldwide known galleries. 

Gavin Turk’s works have been included in many museums such as NY Moma, Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum and collections like Deutsche Bank. Turk borrows figures like Sid Vicious, Andy Warhol,
Elvis Presley, Che Guevara and Jean-Paul Maray, both from cultural popular and intellectual history and
develops a critical method where he, in a way, ‘takes as a hostage’ the personae of this famous people
on two dimensional canvases. Turk also discusses the art history in his work through some recognizable
elements from Rene Magritte, Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein. 

Gavin Turk Featured Artworks

View All (13)
White Pop by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkWhite Pop, 2011Silkscreen on canvas
225 x 135 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Enquire about this work
Pistoletto's Used Tea Cup with Bite Marks by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkPistoletto's Used Tea Cup with Bite Marks, 2019Digital print on mirror, polished stainless steel
80 x 50 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Enquire about this work
Untitled (Newham 433) by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkUntitled (Newham 433), 2019Plywood, plexiglass and found water-bottles
35 x 140 x 35 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Enquire about this work
Lost Bottle by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkLost Bottle, 2019Watercolour on paper
38 x 56 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Enquire about this work
Titanic Fish Bar by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkTitanic Fish Bar, 2019Painted bronze
0.2 x 1 x 9.4 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Enquire about this work
Slumbering Bottle by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkSlumbering Bottle, 2019Watercolour on paper
33.7 x 26.3 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Enquire about this work
Watercolour Water Bottle by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkWatercolour Water Bottle, 2019Watercolour on paper
24.3 x 31.7 cm
Sold
Reflex Amsterdam
Holy Egg (Little Green Copper) by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork
Gavin TurkHoly Egg (Little Green Copper), 2017Copper
57.5 x 41 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Enquire about this work

Gavin Turk Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Gavin Turk, Letting Go at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
19 October–23 December 2019 Gavin Turk Letting Go Reflex AmsterdamAmsterdam
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, All the World's A Stage at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
9 February–2 March 2019 Group Exhibition All the World's A Stage Reflex AmsterdamAmsterdam

Gavin Turk Represented By

P21 contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea P21 Seoul
Reflex Amsterdam contemporary art gallery in Amsterdam, Netherlands Reflex Amsterdam Amsterdam

Gavin Turk In Related Press

Plastic bottle peril: Gavin Turk's environmental crusade marches on in new show inspired by Extinction Rebellion Related Press Plastic bottle peril: Gavin Turk's environmental crusade marches on in new show inspired by Extinction Rebellion 28 November 2019, The Art Newspaper

The show, due to open at Reflex Amsterdam gallery later this month (Letting Go; 19 October-6 December) in the Dutch capital, reflects on consumer society.

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Gavin Turk and Patrick Eakin Young talk tulips, electro-folk opera and Brexit Related Press Gavin Turk and Patrick Eakin Young talk tulips, electro-folk opera and Brexit 28 April 2017, Wallpaper*

Wisdom, wit and the right amount of weirdness are three things that come naturally to moustacheod artist Gavin Turk. The original YBA is known for his radical approach to contemporary sculpture, his vocal politics, and his talent for mimicry—in the halcyon days of the early 90s he impersonated everyone from punks to Pollock.

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Gavin Turk In Video & Audio

In Conversation With... Gavin Turk Related Video & Audio In Conversation With... Gavin Turk 13 November 2019, Reflex Amsterdam

In Conversation with...Gavin Turk is the fifth installment of our ongoing series of artist interviews. In this episode, Gavin Turk tells us about his new exhibition Letting Go. The artist talks about his ideas regarding the term 'value', consuming and his fascination with the plastic water bottle. The series 'In Conversation with...' is...

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