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b. 1967, United Kingdom

Gavin Turk Biography

Gavin Turk is a contemporary British Pop artist and conceptually aware self-promoter. Mixing irony with art careerism and product sales, Turk looks at his own processes of myth-building and idea appropriation, extending the readymade.

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Many of his sculptures are painted bronzes, others are life-size wax and fibreglass figures of himself posing as celebrities and historical figures such as Sid Vicious, Jean-Paul Marat, Che Guevara, and Elvis Presley. He makes sculpture, paintings, photographs and prints. He is considered by some to be a member of the Young British Artists (YBAs), though he is slightly younger and did not attend Goldsmiths, where many of the group's first generation graduated from.

Early Life

Turk studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London (1986—1989) and then the Royal College of Art (1989—1991). He did not graduate; according to the artist, this was because of his submitted exhibition, Cave, which featured a whitewashed room with a circular blue heritage plaque that stated: 'Borough of Kensington, Gavin Turk, Sculptor, worked here 1989 —1991'.

Gavin Turk Artworks

Gavin Turk likes to present work that makes viewers question his seemingly inflated ego, originality, truthfulness, or perhaps even his mental stability. He uses his public persona to look at art career strategies, the seeming desire for celebrity, and the apparent cultivation of notoriety.

Turk's cockiness, cavalier recycling of art history, and incessant attention seeking might really get up your nose, even if he is spotlighting the highly competitive but standard marketing processes at work in the international art world. The question arises whether this typically postmodern brazen cheekiness is sufficiently interesting a fulcrum on which to balance a career. Is institutional reflexivity enough to sustain its audience's enthusiasm? However, as a career strategy, for this artist it seems to be working.

Note however that this sort of practice is a genre in itself, Turk being grouped with other similar sensibilities like Elaine Sturtevant, early Mike Glier, and Imants Tillers. While Tillers might have, say, his grids of canvas boards as a trademark means of mixing his multiple sources, with Turk it is his own face that constantly reoccurs in almost all of his quotational projects. That visage is the point. It is a loaded comment on artist personality cults. He rubs it in, never avoiding media attention—but seeking it. He likes to elucidate on himself, counting on charm to hold his audience to the world of Turkian art history.

Significant works by Gavin Turk include Artist's Piss (2021), Font (2006), Camouflage silver and fright wig silver and orange on taupe (2007), Rotten to the Core (2006), Double Beuys (2005), and Self Portrait (Fountain) (2005).

Awards and Accolades

Gavin Turk is a recipient of the Charles Wollaston Award (2007) and the Jack Goldhill Sculpture Prize (2001).

Collections

Gavin Turk's work is held in collections around the world, including Saatchi Collection, London; British Council, London; Tate Modern, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Caldic Collection, Rotterdam.

Exhibitions

Gavin Turk has participated in numerous significant institutional and commericial solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include En Oeuf, Maruani Mercier Gallery, Brussels (2019); God is Gone, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna (2018); Who What When Where How and Why, Newport Street Gallery, London (2016); Gav, Library Bar, Bruchium-Al Forno, Venice (2015); L'Amour Fou, David Nolan Gallery, New York (2013); Gavin & Turk, Ben Brown Gallery, London (2013); Jack Shit!, Aeroplastics, Brussels (2011); Before The World Was Round, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna (2011).

Significant group exhibitions include Street, The New Art Gallery, Walsall (2012); Made in Britain: Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection, Sichuan (2012); Deja-vu? The Art of Copying from Dürer to YouTube, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe (2012); Twenty, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin (2012); Identity Theft, Mimmo Scognamiglio Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2010); Sensation, Royal Academy of Arts, London (1997).

Website and Instagram

Gavin Turk's website can be found here, and his Instagram here.

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2021

Gavin Turk
featured artworks

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Flat Tyre by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork sculpture
Gavin Turk Flat Tyre, 2013 Painted bronze
54 x 64 x 20 cm
Unit Request Price & Availability
Ficus by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork sculpture
Gavin Turk Ficus, 2021 Painted bronze
34.5 x 24.7 x 1.2 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Request Price & Availability
Holy Egg (White) by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork painting
Gavin Turk Holy Egg (White), 2022 Acrylic paint on canvas
58 x 41.5 x 4 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Holy Egg (Blue) by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork painting
Gavin Turk Holy Egg (Blue), 2022 Acrylic paint on canvas
115 x 81.3 x 4 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Peace Dove by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork print
Gavin Turk Peace Dove, 2019 Giclee print on Hahnemuhle paper
42 x 29.7 cm
Dellasposa Gallery Request Price & Availability
Portrait of Madame Blavatsky by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork sculpture
Gavin Turk Portrait of Madame Blavatsky, 2021 Metal and spiderweb
51 x 41 x 41 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Request Price & Availability
Newton's Apple by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork sculpture
Gavin Turk Newton's Apple, 2017 Painted bronze
2 x 25 x 6 cm
Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea Request Price & Availability
Salvador Dalì by Gavin Turk contemporary artwork print
Gavin Turk Salvador Dalì, 2015 Lithograph print
50 x 26 cm
Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea Request Price & Availability
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Gavin Turk
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