We talked to Gavin Turk, ahead of his new show about waste
(Drawing United) Waste has been a feature in your work for quite sometime. However waste, as a major issue in the public eye, only became a hot topic in recent years.
The issue has been grasped by the roots and we have movement such as Extinction Rebellion these days. Waste is evolved in people’s minds. Has your waste concept in your works also gone through some evolution?
(Gavin Turk) Originally my fascination with waste came through questioning value, both in material and mental terms. Obviously there is now a general awareness of our responsibility to consumption and waste.
The planetary ecological balance is now somehow graspable and people are evermore implicated.
(DU) You got snatched by the police back in 2018 trying to shut down London bridges. How was that? What happened? But more importantly, let’s clear once for all, Extinction Rebellion is a peaceful movement unlike some medias report?
(GT – left) I was on Lambeth Bridge in November last year showing my support for XR. ( Promoting governmental change in three ways 1. Tell the truth 2. Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025 and 3. Create a citizens assembly on climate and ecological justice.)
I was near the barrier, low hanging fruit, when a policeman knelt down and told me to stop blocking a public highway and move on. There was a hundred other people seated on the bridge and as I scratched my chin and asked if he could give me ten minutes to think about it, he said no!
Then proceeded to lead me off the bridge into a caged van where I was taken to Savile Row police station and kept in a holding cell for the next 6 hours when I was released.
I would be hearing from a D.S. Hearing. XR is a multi-headed organisation its pro- the environment and against the extinctions of species that are now reported on a daily basis.
I am so pleased and proud of all these XR protesters making imaginative and powerful public statements to change the culture. (Also it’s gone global).
I hope that XR manage to keep going and don’t get marginalised before the message really goes main stream
Letting go’, your upcoming show
(DU) I read that this show is trying to subvert the socially dictated “natural order” of things. Can you tell our readers a bit more about that as well as what type of work can be expected?
(GT) Living with waste has become a kind of post-hoarding scenario. I have always been challenged by throwing things away as its always fascinating to imagine where it goes.
For the show ‘Letting Go’ I have put together an exhibition that consists of very traditional artistic works; sculptures, paintings and even watercolours but I hope that these works when viewed under the lens of the environment can keep the audience nourished.
(DU) Any London shows in the pipeline at all?
(GT) I have a public sculpture being erected on the roof of the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill in December
Gavin Turk’s Letting Go show will be exhibited at Reflex Amsterdam from 19 October – 6 December www.reflexamsterdam.com
About Gavin Turk
BiGavin Turk (*1967) is a British born, international artist. Turk works across a range of media, including sculpture, painting, and photography.
His work has been exhibited at numerous institutions worldwide, including Museum van Loon (2017), Newport Street Gallery (2016), GEM (2007), Tate (2009, 2002), and the Royal Academy (1991).
His work was also exhibited in Charles Saatchi’s infamous travelling exhibition Sensation from 1997-1999. Turk was the recipient of the Royal Academy of Art’s Charles Wollaston Award in 2007 and the Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture in 2001.
In 2010 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Arts from the University of East London.