Gavin Turk was born in 1967 in Guildford and studied at the Royal College of Art, London. Gavin Turk lives and works in London.
Recent exhibitions include: Petroleum, Baldwin Gallery (2016); Gavin Turk: The Box, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery (2016); Golden Delicious, Louisa Guinness Gallery; The Mechanical Turk, Metropole Hotel; Gav (Library Bar), Bruchium - Al Forno; Yard - CCA Andratx; A Vision - Galerie Krinzinger; Wittgenstein’s Dream - Freud Museum (2015); Seven Billion Two Hundred and One Million Nine Hundred and Sixty-Four Thousand and Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight - The Bowes Museum; Vestige - Fondation Frances; Pense Bête - LARMgalleri; Liqueur D'Expédition - Christian Larsen; A - Ben Brown Gallery Limited; We Are One - New Art Centre Sculpture Park & Gallery Roche Court (2014); L’Amour Fou - David Nolan Gallery; The Years - Ben Brown Fine Arts; Museums at Night - Bristol Museum and Art Gallery; Vanacular - The Gervasuti Foundation; The Monaco Project for the Arts presents Gavin Turk – GT (The Project 2013) - Ecole Supérieure d’Arts Plastiques de la Ville de Monaco (2013).
Turk has exhibited in the groundbreaking POPLIFE show at Tate Modern in 2009; The Venice Biennale in 2001; Material Culture at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1998 and Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, in 1995.
Gavin Turk’s works focus on issues of authorship, authenticity and identity, addressing the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of work. In 1991, Turk was denied his MA certificate for his exhibition piece, Cave, an English Heritage–style blue plaque commemorating his occupancy. The plaque read “Borough of Kensington, Gavin Turk, Sculptor, Worked Here 1989–1991” and was set into the wall above an empty building. His tutors denied him his qualification stating they could not understand the work. In the early '90s Turk made a series of paintings that addressed and developed these issues, the work being based on his own signature. In Stain he recalled Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s habit of signing tablecloths as payment for restaurant meals. In 1993, he staged Collected Works 1989–1993, an exhibition that included the ironic–iconic Pop—a life–size waxwork sculpture of the artist as Sid Vicious aping the pose of Andy Warhol’s painting of Elvis playing a cowboy. In 1998, Turk held a mini–retrospective at the South London Gallery, which he titled The Stuff Show. At the private view, he played on the speculation about its content by wrapping everything up in unbleached canvas and string. This also referred to the sculptor Christo. Turk displayed another waxwork of himself in 2000, this time in the guise of revolutionary leader Che Guevara. His contribution to Ant Noises at the Saatchi Gallery was based on a famous poster image of Guevara, enlarged to billboard size.