En Œuf: Gavin Turk


The egg is the beginning of things and the end of things. It is the moment of conception, of inception: from a single celled Amoeba to the hubristic higher form human. 

We are at an exciting but terrifying moment in history.  The pivotal point on the roller coaster where the carriage slows right down - ready to speed up to a terrifying and exhilarating pitch. Only this time we don’t know if there is an end. Or a stop. Or just an abyss. We are the best of ourselves and the worst of ourselves. We know so much and can do so much - we have found the universal truth in the human. We know we have been just a moment in history and already we have moved from the great apes to the great dominator - the consumer of all things. We are exhilaratingly wise and we are profoundly stupid. 


At this moment we need levity, fun, playfulness and simplicity. We need colour, form, ideas and connectivity. We need the great recycling: The Becoming. The reminder of what has come before and could come next if we imagined it to be, or if we neglect to imagine at all.


Gavin Turk is the great art recycler. Of Art history, of materials, of identity, of value, of ideas, He capriciously represents all that you already know. Reminds you of something that makes you smile, recoil, re-engage, laugh inside. To embrace yourself is to know yourself. To know others - to feel others. To accept the other. 


The white male domination of Western art history has come to an end. The sharing of power has begun. The global human has to do the same – to share power with itself and with Nature. Within the ecosystem, we find the humility in our hubris. This work begins at home and Gavin Turk plays with his past and his present. He weaves skittishly but elegantly though the annals of his recent history. The naïve simple era of minimalism. Ellsworth Kellys lucid, uncomplicated platonic forms, sliced from a giant egg in childlike simple colour fields: A nod to a different era that looked forward to the future. The philosophical circularity of the Wittgenstein puppet and his logic contemplation of the foolish vulval form. The hot-headed artist inhabiting the fountain of Boetti, watering the garden of the intellect. 


The trompe l’oeil of the transformed object. The trick of the eye. Fake News. Paint-stakingly, ludicrously and lovingly recreated in another medium. Invisible to the eye. Profound and seditious in the mind. Our unthinkable and preposterous behaviour appears before us as a vision, a thought and a smile. The prescriptive moral tablets just out of sight. 


What came first the chicken or the egg? The most prolific species on the planet is the one we most like to eat. (over one and a half thousand per second - apparently) The simplicity of the egg. The platonic form. Both intellectual and sexual and somehow absurd. It is the great surreal object of our art past.  Reminding us to play, to imagine. To slow down. To remember and to learn. Here. Now.


En Oeuf is En Oeuf. 


Text by Deborah Curtis

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