Happy New Year and welcome back, I am expecting James Levett to have a big 2017 and am really looking forward to see what 2017 has to hold. This years is first stop is the Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall and if you still have not been you must go. It is a fantastic space and winner of the coveted RIBA Stirling prize, for the U.K’s best new building in 2016.
Gavin Turk had a tough act to follow after Jeff Koons most extensive exhibition of the artist’s work in this country to date. Turks work is full of historical references as in his interpretations of Warhol’s ‘Elvis’ and ‘Disaster’print series, and with Pipe (1991), a liquorice version of the traditionally-male smoking instrument – cast in bronze – that plays on Magritte’s famous The Treachery of Images (1929), whilst simultaneously referencing van Gogh. Influenced by artists such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Turk’s skillful manipulation of materials is evident throughout the show, for example in his exquisitely-cast bronze rubbish bags, and with the major sculptural work Ariadne (2006–2014). This large-scale bronze playfully casts the classical female figure, reimagined in Giorgio de Chirico’s surreal paintings, as if she is made of crudely carved polystyrene, further debunking the fetishized art historical form.
I first saw Turk work in 1995 at the Saatchi gallery exhibition ‘Young British Artist’ and then again in the Royal Academy’s seminal ‘Sensation’ show in 1997. His latest offering is packed with full nostalgia and the confidence in his work perfectly sums up the time in which it was made in the mid 90’s. Gavin Turks collaboration with Damian Hurst’s Newport Street Gallery is tremendous fun and Turk’s quirky imagination is brought to life with humanistic themes.
We also popped over to see the Turner prize for the last time this year, next year prize will be held in Hull to celebrate being awarded The City of Culture for 2017.