G A V I N_ T U R K

Gavin Turk rose to prominence in the early 1990s during the so-called ‘young British artists’ phenomenon: a wave of media interest provoked by an ambitious generation of artists with a flair for self-promotion. Turk’s thoughtful, visually striking work gained him a reputation as an artist who questioned the nature and values of identity, pop culture, and art itself.

Turk was born in 1967 in Guildford and went to the Royal College of Art. In 1991 Turk was denied his MA certificate 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. The piece brought him critical acclaim and academic notoriety in equal measure. Turk’s work has been collected by Charles Saatchi and was presented in Saatchi’s influential and controversial exhibition Sensation (1997), marking his presence as a central figure of the YBA group.