was born in 1967 in Guildford England and went to the Royal College of Art in London. In 1991 Turk was denied his MA certificate from the Royal College of Art for his degree show presentation, which consisted of an empty white studio with a blue English Heritage plaque installed, which simply bore the inscription “Borough of Kensington / GAVIN TURK / Sculptor / Worked Here 1989-1991.”
Beginning his career paradoxically with his own demise and posthumous recognition set the tone for his subsequent work, which dealt with the cult of personality and the construction of artistic myth. Senior members of staff refused Turk his MA degree – the first time this ever happened.
However, many visitors, including the young art dealer, Jay Jopling, recognized the artwork as a serious, multi-layered installation with a knowing take on art history. The piece brought Turk critical acclaim and academic notoriety in equal measure. Turk’s work has been collected by Charles Saatchi and was presented in Saatchi’s most influential and controversial exhibition ‘Sensation’ (1997), marking his presence as a central figure of the YBA group.
Challenging notions of authorship and the institution of art, Gavin Turk
has reworked many of the iconic works of modern art. This journey of
appropriation has included re-inventions of work by Marcel Duchamp, Yves
Klein, Pierre Manzoni and Andy Warhol.
Triple Pop (2009) registers the reverberations of history surrounding
Turk's own iconic wax-work sculpture Pop (1993) - Gavin Turk as Sid
Vicious as Elvis Presley. Layers of meaning, interpretation and
misinterpretation are the fate of a work like Pop (1993) which has been
endlessly reproduced and is held up as a key moment in the history of
the so called 'YBAs'.
The black overlapping repeated figures in Triple Pop (2009) suggest a
fractured, hall of mirrors version of history, while the silver
background, though partially submerged below the black, is still visible
and gives an alluring shimmer to the work.