Ceramic plaque in room

6750 x 6750 x 10000 mm


An ‘historical blue plaque’ to commemorate work done by the artist during his time at the Royal College of Art. In a sky-lit wood-panelled room inside the Royal College of Art mounted on an otherwise empty wall in an otherwise empty room, a blue ceramic English heritage plaque reads “Gavin Turk, Sculptor, worked here 1989 – 1991”. A commemoration of a life, it marks the presence of the artist with the most powerful and evocative of the tools that might be at his disposal - his absence. The curtain has fallen. The titles are rolling. Gavin Turk has left the stage. Death as performance. While the absence of the artist, we make the art. The artist is no more and all that is left for the audience in this empty white space is to reverently imagine the work which once filled this space, while apprehending that the emptiness is the work. And so material object of the plaque frames the space and the art work frames the artist, the one somehow preceding the other in an elliptical sleight of hand, as the end frames the beginning. All that is left behind of the artist is a memorial to an implied body of work, and by extension, an implied life and worth, while the title, after Plato’s famous allegory, tells of a hidden reality we can neither see nor know. In an unexpected twist to the tale, Cave has additionally become infamous as the piece of work that "won" Turk a fail for his Masters which he had been studying for at the Royal College of Art. Ironically, it has gone on to become regarded as one of Turk's most iconic pieces.