Exhibitions2009Gavin Turk Ltd

Gavin Turk Ltd

17 Jun 09

Paul Stolper Gallery

Gavin Turk Ltd was presented by Paul Stolper Gallery in association with RS&A LTD. The exhibition included The Mechanical Turk, a 14-minute film commissioned by RS&A, as well as works on paper, canvas, and mirror.

For his RS&A commission, Turk investigated the fascinating historical story of the ‘Mechanical Turk’ – a life-sized mechanical man that was dressed in Eastern costume and could somehow play chess.  The film consists of Gavin Turk dressed as ‘the Turk’ in the identical setting and posing as the 18th Century automaton.

Together with the film, Turk presented a series of works that highlighted his fascination with the commodification of art, and how art history is hijacked and reconstituted in contemporary art. For Gavin Turk Ltd. the artist dissected art historical influences and re-presented them in painting and print.

In Turk Love the word ‘Love’ is substituted from Robert Indiana’s seminal work of the same name for his own surname. The piece explores notions of cliché in popular culture, how highbrow becomes the everyday, and the machinations of how an artwork evolves not only into a signature piece, but how it infiltrates the everyday.

This filtering process was further exemplified by Turk’s series of silkscreen works on mirror presenting images of the artist in in the guise of Andy Warhol and Che Guevara; both icons are reduced to motifs to be used across any number of media, in this case mirrors to adorn bedroom walls.

Your Authorised Reflection, a mirror that is clear save for a signature at the bottom right hand side, examines how the signature bestows value on a work, while the inherent reflective qualities of the mirror reflects the artist’s interest in portraiture.

Shop Sign, a hand-carved shop sign that reads ‘Gavin Turk’, hangs inside the gallery and runs along the length of a wall. The nostalgia generated by Shop Sign reflects a cultural shift from small family run businesses to global brands more allied to America than to Europe. The meticulously crafted artefact disguised as a piece of found ephemera.