Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Gavin Turk

Born in Guildford in 1967; studied at Chelsea School of Art (1986-89) and the Royal College of Art (1989-91)

Turk is a sculptor and conceptual artist with an international reputation gained through his prolific output of iconoclastic work, much of which is designed to debunk the ‘myth of the artist’. His practice ranges across a wide range of media and materials including bronze, waxwork, posters, discarded rubbish and recycled objects.

From early in his career he has engaged with the issues authorship and authenticity in art. At the Royal College of Art he was denied the award of his postgraduate degree on the basis that his final submission was an empty, whitewashed studio containing only a blue English Heritage wall plaque commemorating his presence there as a student. His trompe l’oeil sculptures in painted bronze of everyday objects such as a black plastic rubbish bag (Bag, 2000) and a crumpled sleeping bag (Nomad, 2002) were in the tradition of challenging accepted ideas about the subject matter of fine art.

Sometimes Turk uses appropriations from the work of other artists, in one case featuring himself; this was a life-size waxwork in which he adopts the pose of Elvis Presley in the well-known screenprint by Andy Warhol.

His challenging and ironic work has attracted many collectors, critics and curators and his work is represented in numerous important collections around the world.