Gavin Turk at Newport Street Gallery
Newport Street Gallery, which opened fairly recently in Vauxhall, presents exhibitions from Damien Hirst’s art collection. They opened with Pop Artist Jeff Koon’s work and – until 19 March – have a show about another Pop Artist and fellow YBA; Gavin Turk.
Having been meaning to visit for ages I can confirm it’s worth a trip even for Contemporary Art sceptics (even if you just pop in to look at the restaurant and architecture – more on that later!)
Gavin Turk: Who What When Where How & Why
Covering 26 years of Turk’s career the exhibition begins with some of his early work. I’ve always had a soft spot for his irreverent – often comic – sculptures and in the second room you get a taste for his humour with Cave, 1991;
In this huge space only a 50x50cm artwork is on display. It was first shown in the final show of Turk’s 3-year Masters course, and takes the form of an iconic English Heritage blue plaque.
Image from gavinturk.com
Turk continues to trick his audience when you walk into the next room only to apparently be confronted by Jackson Pollacks, an impression enforced by glancing at what looks like the photos of Pollack creating his paintings. However they’re reconstructions of the iconic photo showing instead Turk with Palatte and Bucket, 2009
Looking closer at the paintings too, you notice that they’re hundreds of overlaid Gavin Turk signatures.
In the middle of the room are mirrored boxes named Robert Morris Untitled, 1965-72. At first you’re confused as to why they’re here. Until you realise they’re not by the modernist sculptor Robert Morris. These ones look like weathered and tarnished, Turk hoping to give the impression they’ve been ‘left out in the English countryside to lose their lustre in the rain’.
Here’s what Morris’ sculpture should look like…
Image from tate.org.uk
Make the journey up an impressive spiral staircase and you’re awarded with garbage. Literally.
But again, Turk’s work isn’t as it appears and each of these sculptures is cast bronze. By using a traditional fine art – and expensive technique – Turk surprises you and make you question reality.
Look out for the tiny scuptures too, like match boxes, paper cups and this rotten apple core.
Designed by Caruso St John (same architects of the new Tate Britain) and covering 37,000 sq foot, the building was converted from three purpose-built 1913 listed buildings.
The original buildings were used for painting set designs for West End shows and outside you can still see the double height doors used for the sets. Inside they still have an industrial and spacious feel.
But the showstopper pieces are the spiral staircases at either end of the space, whether you’re looking up;
Even if you just grab a coffee, it’s also worth poking your head into their restaurant; Pharmacy 2 which is a reference to Hirst’s Pharmacy, 1992, an installation first shown at the Cohen Gallery, New York.
It features objects from Damien Hirst’s own work including his medicine cabinets and butterfly paintings.
Newport Street Gallery is free and open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Gavin Turk is on until 19 March 2017. Find out more here.