Gavin Turk - 'Oeuvre (Duck)'

Gavin Turk (b. 1967)
Oeuvre (Duck), 2002
Painted fibreglass
135 x 210 x 135 cm; (53 1/8 x 82 5/8 x 53 1/8 in.)

Gavin Turk was born 1967 in Guildford and went to the Royal College of Art in London. In his MA exhibition show, Cave(1991), he presented a whitewashed studio space containing only a blue heritage plaque commemorating his presence with a phrase reading “Gavin Turk Sculptor Worked Here, 1989-1991.” Though refused a degree, his subsequent notoriety attracted the attention of Charles Saatchi and Turk became part of a group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs). Saatchi went on to exhibit Turk’s work in the seminal ‘Sensation’ exhibition, which visited the Royal Academy of Arts, London; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Turk has since been represented by major galleries throughout the world and is known for pioneering many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of rubbish in art. He has long been associated with the YBA movement and his installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. Over the last three decades, Turk has relentlessly challenged the notions of value, authorship and identity in his work, audaciously intermingling references both to modern masters, and to himself, in the pieces he creates.

Following in the footsteps of artists throughout the ages including Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali, René Magritte, Piero Manzoni, Marcel Broodthaers and Constantin Brancusi, eggs appear in Gavin Turk’s work as sculptural metaphors for the surreal philosophical puzzle; which came first, the chicken or egg? Symbols of life, of creation, of originality, fragility and mortality, Turk’s eggs appear as surreal faces, as giant duck eggs, as broken shells depicting his signature and in liquid form as mayonnaise and egg tempura paint. Turk's Oeuvre (Duck), familiar and domestic, in a natural open-air environment, is made comic and surreal by its sheer size.

Transforming eggs from the sacred to the profane, a symbol of creation to something created: the artist explores the contemporary relationship between life and art. The egg as the ultimate metaphysical form.

Oeuvre (Duck) was presented by Ben Brown Fine Arts. In 2004, Ben Brown Fine Arts opened its first location in the heart of Mayfair, London. The gallery quickly established itself on the international art scene with exhibitions of long-term gallery artists Candida Höfer, Tony Bevan, Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne, and Heinz Mack, amongst others. With permanent exhibition spaces in London, Hong Kong and Palm Beach, the galleries regularly exhibit and develop programming for their renowned stable of international, multi-disciplinarian contemporary artists, including Yoan Capote, Rob and Nick Carter, Vik Muniz, José Parlá, Enoc Perez, Hank Willis Thomas, and of course, Gavin Turk.

Ben Brown Fine Arts
12 Brook's Mews
London W1K 4DG
+44 (0)20 7734 888