27 Mar 09

Sean Kelly Gallery

Jazzz was a major exhibition of Gavin Turk’s work at the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York featuring paintings, photographs, sculpture and a video installation.

Hung in the Main Gallery, a group of seemingly-abstract large-scale paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock were in fact constructed from countless layers of paint, representing Turk’s repeated signature. Turk’s characteristic appropriation of identity in these paintings was echoed and reinforced by a group of black and white photographs of the artist in his studio making the paintings. The photographs are reminiscent of the well-known series of photographs by Hans Namuth and Rudy Burckhardt that helped demystify Pollock's famous drip painting technique.

The Mechanical Turk, a film in which the artist presents himself as a life-size chess-playing automaton, was be projected in Gallery 1. Turk examines the fascinating historical story of The Turk – a life-sized mechanised figure dressed in Turkish robes, which would trick viewers into believing it was a world-class chess player. The film, which is 14 minutes long, shows the artist dressed in costume executing the knight’s tour, a series of complicated chess moves whereby the knight is placed on an empty board, visiting each square only one time.