Life Extinguished

John-Paul Pryor interviewing Gavin Turk for PORT Magazine

The artist Gavin Turk on creating an atypical exhibition that explores the landscape of collective trauma 


One artist you might not readily associate with sombre, reflective and meditative works is the celebrated Gavin Turk, the handlebar moustachioed once-upon-a-time YBA whose name has become synonymous with quite literally turning trash, and, more recently, his own human effluence, into art. In fact, over the last thirty years you could say the now middle-aged Turk has deftly positioned himself as this gilded isle’s arch art prankster, engaging his audience in multiple wry, witty and self-referential takedowns of the establishment that are generally somewhat funnier than any similarly tongue-in-cheek offerings by those one might consider his peers. It’s interesting then that his current show at Ben Brown Fine Arts is indeed sombre, reflective and meditative, and, dare I say, even a bit of a downer, evoking a mood that seems to have more to do with a sincere consideration of fleeting mortality than it does with prodding sacred cows

December 6, 2022