at Venice Biennale 2015

1 May - 30 June 2015

The Mechanical Turk - Metropole Hotel, Venice

Gavin Turk’s film The Mechanical Turk, presented by the Gervasuti Foundation in collaboration with the Hotel Metropole is a site specific installation within the context of the hotel’s Byzantine, historical and cultural references. The film shows the artist impersonating Wolfgang von Kempelen’s famous automaton ‘The Turk’ (1769) which was capable of playing a game of chess against a human opponent. This ingeniously constructed mechanism was exhibited by its various owners and captivated audiences across Europe and America, until Edgar Allen Poe exposed it in the early 1820s as a hoax. The cabinet beneath the automaton was an elaborate hiding place for a dwarf chess master to secretly play the game. The influential cultural theorist Walter Benjamin compared the Mechanical Turk to a particular view of history, which doesn’t see through the illusions that conceal the true mechanisms of power and he related the automaton to Karl Marx’s concept of historical materialism.

7 May - 22 November 2015

Gav (Library Bar) - Bruchium - Al Forno, Venice

Gav by Gavin Turk is a site-specific LibraryBar presented on the occasion of the 56th Venice Biennale. Set in the building that was once the historic bakery ‘Il Forno,’ Gav is a curatorial and interactive project that will evolve within the lifetime of the 2015 Venice Biennale. The LibraryBar is located in Calle del Forno passage between the entrance of the Arsenale and the Via Garibaldi en route to the Giardini.

April 30, 2015