18 Sep 12

Galerist, Istanbul

Galerist opened the 2012-2013 exhibition season in its Tepebaı gallery with a survey of Gavin Turk’s works from a seven year period. The artist was unable to resist the conflation of his name with the possessive cultural label, ‘Turk’, when titling his first solo show in Istanbul.

The title of the show played with conventions of simply but ostentatiously naming exhibitions after the artist. The naming of a show in this way, through twisted repetition, alludes to the way that an artist's name can become a kind of brand which, in this case, is both a national issue and a personal one.

The show invariably touched on themes of art history, authorship, identity and authenticity, with his ‘GT Eggs’ series paying tribute to Warhol’s acrylic on canvas, ‘Egg paintings’. Similarly, the silkscreen series, ‘Turk Love’, refered to American artist Robert Indiana (1928).

The exhibition also included the sculptural bronze ‘Handle’ (2011); the neon glass ‘Observing Eye’ (2011), and bronze statue, ‘Refuse’ (2001). Three series of acrylics on canvas titled ‘Eye’ were also presented to audiences.

TÜRK concludes with the video installation, ‘Mechanical Turk’ (2006), based upon the 18th Century automaton that was alleged to be able to play chess. In the work, Gavin Turk replaces the inanimate Ottoman figure and contributes to the discussions about identity and content in today’s conditions.