Exhibitions2017History of Art

History of Art

23 Nov 17 - 23 Feb 18

Mimmo Scognamiglio artecontemporanea

History of Art is a body of work that illustrates Gavin Turk’s exploration of authenticity, originality and how we value artworks and build artistic reputations. In this exhibition Gavin Turk responded to some of the many artists who inspired and influenced him, particularly in terms of re-assigning or dismantling modernist ideas.

Turk’s work draws inspiration from specific modern masters – Josef Albers, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, César Balda- ccini, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Lucio Fontana, Donald Judd, Yves Klein, René Magritte and Jackson Pollock. He also created a work in response to Damien Hirst’s contemporary medicine cabinets. Turk has played with the recycling of art history throughout his oeuvre. His responses to other artist’s innovative works play with the way they can be reduced to stereotypes that become their recognisable distinctive ‘brands’. He works with imagery and motifs, often combining two or three artist references in a single painting or sculpture. He then reshapes these art historical ‘clichés’ together with his own ideas to create something new and different.

Turk’s project doesn’t view the history of art as something that happened, rather as something that continues to happen. He is very skilled at adopting the guise of other artists’ work and even creates photographic portraits where he convincingly mimics their characteristic poses, facial expressions and hairstyles. His imaginative imitations and appropriations are part homage, part deconstruction, where he uses his characteristic ironic sense of humour to engage the viewer. Rather than intended as being merely a critique they are more a celebration of works he has spent time considering. They provoke serious thought into deeper questions about identity, authorship and authenticity and both resurrect and undermine the myths of the old avant-garde.