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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Exhibited

    London, White Cube, Out There, 2000; London, Saatchi Gallery, Ant Noises Part 2, September – November 2000; Tate Liverpool, The Uncanny, February – May 2004; Bern, Switzerland, Kunstmuseum, Six Feet Under, November 2006 – January 2007; The Hague, The Netherlands, GEM Museum of Contemporary Art, The Negotiation of Purpose, March – May 2007; Grenoble, France, Magasin Centre National d'Art Contemporain, The Negotiation of Purpose, June – September 2007; Dresden, Germany, Deutsches Hygiene Museum, Six Feet Under, November, 2007 – March 2008

  • Literature

    Ant Noises Part 2, exh. cat., Saatchi Gallery, London, 2000, pp. 42 – 43 (illustrated); 100: The Work That Changed British Art, London: Jonathan Cape, 2003, pp. 128 – 30 (illustrated)  

  • Catalogue Essay

    Using an appropriation-based conceptual approach, Gavin Turk investigates what it means to be an artist dealing with issues of authorship, authenticity and originality. He has long had a fascination with Che Guevara; an adapted image where Turk casts himself as the Marxist revolutionary has been a recurrent motif throughout his work. As a major figure of the Cuban Revolution, Che Guevara became a ubiquitous counter-cultural symbol; and, since his death in 1969, his stylized visage has become a global cliche within popular culture. Depictions of Che, and, in turn, Turk's previous appropriations of him, are usually based on the famous Alberto Korda photograph, showing a bearded, beret-wearing warrior with furrowed brow, flowing hair, and his eyes looking up to the right. But in the sculpture Death of Che, Turk has chosen to depict himself as Che after his capture and execution by Bolivian forces, appropriating the moment when Che's dead body was shown to the world the day after his murder. With his outstretched arms, closed eyes and bare torso, Che's pose is reminiscent of depictions of the Entombment of Christ of the Renaissance for example. By casting himself thus, Turk is suggesting that his revolutionary work is over, a theme also explored in his seminal Royal College of Art degree installation Cave – in which he represented himself with a blue heritage plaque, proclaiming him to be a dead sculptor. Deeply layered with meaning, Death of Che perfectly embodies Turk's continual desire to question the value and integrity of a coherent artistic identity.


Death of Che

Waxwork and mixed media.
130 x 255 x 120 cm. (51 1/5 × 100 2/5 × 47 1/4 in).

£60,000 - 80,000 ♠ †

Sold for £67,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010