Etching on 300 gsm somerset velvet

303 x 360 mm


Gavin Turk’s art questions what it means to make art and what it means to be an artist practising today. The art is reflexive and philosophical whilst the playful use of references, materials and imagery charms the audience into joining his academic reverie. The humble object (often not quite what it seems) transformed into a key prop from a bigger stage. Nomad—depicting a tragic figure encased in a sleeping bag hidden from the world—is given a noble title. Immortalised in bronze, far from being a figure of pity, it recalls ancient ancestors or soothsayers. Bronze apple cores given names such as The Mirror Stage bring symbolism into tiny discarded amulets. The myth of Ariadne explored in works such as The Golden Thread—a modernist maze made of vitrine-like cells where the audience becomes lost in the art—becomes the art. His interest in this archetype, this passive female recipient of art histories male gaze is more a metaphor for cultural out-of-focusness and abandonment. His hand carving of a spade Desert Island Scenario reflects on life without culture should we become isolated on the Defoe island.

For the Portfolio Gavin Turk has taken this idea further with the idle musings of a shipwrecked artist carving cultural fairy tale iconography pirate-style into a whale bone. A scrimshaw rendering of Moby Dick meets Theseus and de Chirico.