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Lot 50: Brillo 2, 2001
Contemporary Art Evening Sale
February 12, 2009
London, United Kingdom
Brillo 2, 2001
Painted bronze. 55.2 x 39.4 x 26.7 cm. (21 3/4 x 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 in). This work is unique from a series of six similar works.
Gavin Turk is one of the Young British Artists whose works were included in the epoch-making exhibition Sensation in 1997. He gained recognition in the art world shortly after failing his MA at the Royal College of Art by exhibiting Cave at his final show: an empty gallery space containing only a blue heritage plaque bearing the words ‘Borough of Kensington / GAVINTURK / Sculptor / worked here1989-1991'. Turk quickly established himself as an artist who undeniably stood by his artistic integrity no matter the consequences.
It is typical ofTurk's work to be densely layered, referencing the works of artists that influence him and manipulating the exposure and erasure of pre-existing standards within the context of the artworld. In the lineage of Andy Warhol and his Brillo soap pad boxes, the present lot Brillo 2 exactly replicates its mass produced namesake. As with so much of Turk's work nothing is as it first seems, continuously prompting the viewer to question what is real. In Brillo 2 Turk conceals the works true medium, bronze, a material that has long standing art historical importance, and instead creates the illusion of cardboard. In Brillo 2 Turk has typically empowered a ubiquitous object usually strewn to the periphery when dealing with the canonized visual language of high art and culture. His imagery belongs neither to the abject or the desirable but lives in the impossible to locate purgatory of forgotten objects that have managed to dodge the far sweeping arm of artistic reference. Much like his hero, the Italian conceptual artist Piero Manzoni,Turk goes to great lengths to challenge his audience to reconsider not only the value of everyday objects but the value and nature of art.
Provenance: White Cube, London
Artist or Maker: GAVIN TURK