Exhibitions2013The Years

The Years

26 Apr 13

Ben Brown Fine Arts

Coinciding with the publication of the artist’s first monograph, a major exhibition of Turk’s highly influential works was held at Ben Brown Fine Arts Gallery in London. The title signified a milestone in the artist’s career after two decades of remarkable output with deeper resonances throughout art history, the exhibition saw a number of works make their debut appearances in the UK, including pieces inspired by the distinct methods and styles of two 20th Century Italian masters: Lucio Fontana and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Among the most recognisable works on display was Triple Pop Black and White (2011), a variant on Turk’s famous waxwork Pop (1993), in which the artist portrays himself as Sid Vicious in the gunslinging pose of Warhol’s ‘Elvis’. With this work, Turk’s appropriation of Warhol came full circle with the use of the same silkscreen process. By contrast, Oscar II (2000), a curious bust of Turk with a shotgun nose and bulging eggs for eyes, draws on the figure in Magritte’s L’ellipse.

Works inspired by Fontana’s buchi (‘holes’) and tagli (‘slashes’) series featured, Turk’s ovoid canvases are punctured with painstaking precision to spell his initials, as part of his exploration of process and authorship. Similarly, broken egg shells fixed to a canvas spell out Turk’s signature in One Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Four Eggs (1997), acknowledging the Belgian Surrealist Marcel Broodthaers and the textured white canvasses of Manzoni’s ‘Achrome’ paintings.

At the exhibition Turk also premiered work inspired by the defining ‘Mirror Paintings’ Pistoletto began in the Sixties. Pistoletto’s Rubbish (2013) cleverly fuses the highly polished surfaces associated with the Italian master with a silkscreened image of Turk’s own iconic bin bag sculptures. Turks added to his collection of painted bronze sculptures with Refuse (2012), an exquisitely detailed sculpture that resembles a bin bag; Habitat (Zingy Purple) (2004); and Burnt Out (2008), which makes provocative references to sleeping rough.