Gavin Turk (b 1967) is a British born, international artist. 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 the authorship of a work,
Turk's engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the
ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. The artist's signature is a recurring and literal
feature in Turk's oeuvre; indeed in some of his works 'signature' and 'work' are
interchangeable. If, Turk reasons, an artist's signature is so important to a work's
value why should it not be the aesthetic focus of a work?
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 has since been exhibited by many major galleries and museums
throughout the world.