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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Exhibited

    London, Saatchi Gallery, Young British Artists, 1996; Den Haag, GEM Museum of Contemporary Art, The Negotiation of Purpose, February – May 2006; The New Art Gallery Walsall, Gavin Turk on Gavin Turk, June – September 2002

  • Literature

    R. Timms, The Saatchi Decade: Young British Art, London, 1999, pp. 428-429 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1917, Marcel Duchamp submitted to exhibition a urinal purporting to be a fountain, signing it with one of his many aliases, R. Mutt. The work was refused but later exhibited elsewhere and thus ensued a century of artistic inquiry into authorship and identity. Gavin Turk began his career in similar disarray, being denied his MA from the Royal College of Art for exhibiting in an otherwise empty white studio an English Heritage blue plaque bearing his name with posthumous dates.
    Deeply woven into Turk’s oeuvre is an investigation into issues of authorship, authenticity and originality, which he explores from an appropriation-based conceptual angle. Using his signature, due to its value as the most common sign of identification, as a starting point, Turk has exhibited an array of objects including an egg and a brick embellished with his name, so commenting on the value that this confers on a work of art. These metaphoric transformations also reference our time’s most prolific statesmen of authorial omnipotence, Piero Manzoni, in whose footprints Turk treads in the exploration of the transformation between object and art, signifier and signified.
    This monumental nine-metre enlargement of his signature is executed using International Klein Blue, Yves Klein’s signature colour. In appropriating colour and sponge into his signature, Turk again questions the notion of originality and the idea of the authenticity of an artist’s signature.


Unoriginal Signature

Steel, natural sponges and pigment paint.
180 x 950 x 15 cm (70 7/8 x 374 x 6 in).

£50,000 - 70,000 ♠ †

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

13 October 2010