Exhibitions2011Jack Shit!

Jack Shit!

30 Apr 11


The title of the exhibition, Jack Shit!, is an English slang phrase meaning ‘worth nothing’. The self-effacing title belied the humour and pathos in the lovingly crafted pieces presented by Turk as he - through the show - examined his persona as a British artist working in the 21st century.

On display were a number of iconic pieces by the artist including Figure, a human scale maquette, which was later installed amongst the glass cathedrals of the city of London. Nailed into the ground behind the religious iconography of St Pauls, the rusty punk antique mourns the demise of the English working man. Missile is a painted bronze trompe l’oeil of a simple brick, the literal block upon which the establishment has been built removed and reimagined as a projectile to be hurled through the plate glass window of high art.

The show also included two of Turk’s theatrical installations, reminiscent more of ephemeral museum objet than of art. The first, The Mechanical Turk, was a filmic reenactment of an elaborate 18th century hoax which fooled the most illustrious courts of Europe for over a decade. In the film, the disguised artist is replaying the Knights Move - a strategic yet pointless and circular ritual taking the Knight precisely and technically correctly through every square on the chess board.

Waiting for Gavo presented the audience with four sinister ventriloquist’s dummies, relics of a play written, directed and produced by the Turk studio in a loose adaptation of Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot. The handmade puppets are based on historical art figures: Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol and the infamous art dealer, Scratchy. The labyrinth of history and art history, meaning and meaninglessness, reality and unreality is underscored by the paradoxical role of the artist as puppet.