From tea stains, to giant eggs and cast bronze take-away packaging, Gavin Turk’s irreverent and philosophical work has made him one of the most enduring YBA’s. His witty, pop-inflected pieces challenge the mythology of the artist as celebrity, and playfully confound and confuse ideas of authenticity and perception. Dazed spoke with him ahead of his inclusion in SNAP 2012, an exhibition for Aldeburgh Festival organized by fellow YBA Abigail Lane.
Dazed Digital: How do you start your day in the studio?
Gavin Turk: With coffee. We have a coffee machine, and everyday I think ‘I drink too much’. The next thing is reading emails, but I’m not so good at responding to them!
DD: How did you get involved with SNAP 2012?
Gavin Turk: Through Abigail Lane, and the fact that lots of people that I know were living in Shoreditch and have all suddenly ended up living in Suffolk.
DD: What will you be showing there?
Gavin Turk: Two pieces, the first is a kissing stone. It’s a piece of granite that you kiss and it gives you magical properties. It’s like a religious icon, or something from folklore, similar to the Blarney Stone. Normally in a gallery you aren’t allowed to touch anything because touching destroys a work, but in this case the more it gets touched the better it becomes itself. The other is an old fashioned, well worn, Georgian internal door in a doorframe, open at 45 degrees. It becomes a standalone door in the landscape, almost closed or almost open. It’s all about inside being outside, and all sides being outside. It’s the opposite of an egg. With an egg it’s all wall or all door. I’ve made large egg sculptures before. It’s an architectural conundrum.
DD: Your studio is right next to the Olympic site, are you a fan?
Gavin Turk: I’m worried about the displacement of all the buildings and the real history of that area - it was leveled in order to make this park which seems to have Westfield and a MacDonalds, the biggest in Europe, at its centre.
DD: You’ve been quoted as having loved art school. What impact do you think the arts cuts will have on British creativity?
Gavin Turk: Cut it down a bit! There are different schools of thought. Some people think cuts and hardship are good for art, as artists should suffer and it makes a healthy environment to make art out of and therefore strong art. I am a bit more of the opinion that we should try and celebrate and engage with out creative cultural environment and encourage it. Cuts in education are really negative.
DD: What are you up to next?
Gavin Turk: We are going to Istanbul to talk about doing a show there, and New York. I’m also doing a project, some of which will appear in Selfridges window, for the British Fashion Council with Hussein Chalayan.
SNAP 2012 runs from 9th – 24th June at Snape Maltings, Suffolk.