Figure - 2011: Gavin Turk

Art in Mayfair Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk, Figure – 2011. Presented by Ben Brown Fine Arts. Location: Flower Stall, New Bond Street.

Gavin Turk's Figure is a life-scale rusty nail made in bronze, appearing to have been hit in the ground at an angle.  Both comic and provocative.  Figure is a nostalgic recollection of tools traditionally used by the construction industry and favoured by Turk's archetypal white van man, now of less and less necessity in today's world.  Its rustiness, meanwhile, underscores the uselessness of this once useful object while also suggesting the creep of the natural into the territory of the man-made.

Not only a literal object, the nail doubles as a psychological object which suggests "nail in the coffin" and "nailed to the cross." A magnification of a miniature object, the closer the viewer stands to the work, the more comically abstract the object appears, as by contrast, both the viewer and its surroundings appear to shrink.

Presented by: Ben Brown Fine Arts, 12 Brooks Mew’s, London W1K4DG


About Gavin Turk (b. 1967)

Gavin Turk is a British born, internationally renowned artist, who lives and works in London.  He has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of rubbish in art.

Turk's installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity, and identity.  Concerned with the 'myth' of the artist and ontological questioning. Turk's engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp.

In 1991, the Royal College of Art refused Turk a degree on the basis that his final show, 'Cave', consisted of a whitewashed studio space containing only a blue heritage plaque commemorating his presence 'Gavin Turk worked here 1989-91'.  Instantly gaining notoriety through this installation, Turk was spotted by Charles Saatchi and was included in several YBA exhibitions.

Gavin Turk's work is held within public and private collections worldwide, including but not limited to the TATE, Museum of Modern Art New York, Museum MMK Für Moderne Kunst, Musée Magritte Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In 2013 Prestel published Turk's first monograph, showcasing more than two decades of his work and in 2014 Trolley Books published 'This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk' which playfully explores themes associated with the artist's work via thirty notable contributors.

Website: Gavin Turk

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