Gavin Turk is a British artist born in 1967. He has pioneered 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.
With an active international career spanning over 25 years, the artist first came to public attention in 1991 with his degree show from The Royal College of Art. His work is a series of assisted readymade objects that seem commonplace but are détourned or transformed in often unexpected ways.
Turk’s installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. Concerned with the myth of the artist and authorship, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back through the lineage of art history. His work is held in important collections around the world and he has exhibited widely, with more than 50 solo shows alone as well as dozens of group museum shows in America, Asia, Australasia and Europe. The artist lives and works in London.
As the inspiration for the exhibition Gavin Turk has placed Tulips, a painted bronze facsimile of a tulip box, perhaps full of tulips about to be displayed in the Museum. There is also a small collection of art and artefacts placed around the gallery including his portrait sculpture of Gentleman Jim (after Van Gogh) and some painted bronze objects including Odyssey (a dried poppy referencing John Keats’s poem The Lotus Eaters), bronze cast of ‘Ship’ matches and a painted bronze used match. These last few are high-art representations which call to mind both human ingenuity and the vast distances travelled in the name of trade by the Dutch East India Company and other more contemporary organisations.