Gavin Turk is a British sculptor and photographer who came to prominence in the 1990s as one of the infamous Young British Artists (the YBAs).
Turk gained notoriety in 1991 when, for his MFA show at the Royal College of Art in London, he exhibited a blue ceramic English Heritage plaque affixed to the wall of an otherwise empty studio bearing the text ‘Borough of Kensington Gavin Turk Sculptor Worked Here 1989–91′. For this exhibition he was denied his MA certificate, an action that set the tone for his subsequent work.
Since then Turk has created installations and sculptures that address issues surrounding authorship, authenticity and identity. One of his best-known sculptures, Pop, is a life-size waxwork self-portrait in which he adopts the identity of Sid Vicious singing My Way in the pose of Elvis Presley as depicted by Andy Warhol. This interest in the way fame and celebrity affect the understanding of art and the position of artists has also seen Turk create large-scale canvases in the personae of Che Guevara, Elvis Presley and Joseph Beuys.
With Charles Saatchi and the late David Bowie noted as collectors, it is no wonder Turk’s sculptures, paintings and limited edition prints are some of the most sought-after on the market.