Gavin Turk (British, b.1967) is a sculptor and photographer. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London from 1989 to 1991, but he did not graduate due to a controversial show called Cave. The show consisted of a white room and a commemorative plaque honoring the fact that Turk himself had worked in the room. He is considered a member of the Young British Artists, a movement known for its warehouse shows, shock value tactics, and popular appeal.
Turk works primarily in bronze and wax sculptures, although he makes forays into photography and silkscreen. One of his better known sculptures is Nomad, a bronze sculpture of a sleeping bag painted to look real. He is also known for a series of silkscreens mimicking popular posters of Che Guevara that feature the artist's own partially disguised face.
Turk owes much of his initial success to the patronage of noted art collector Charles Saatchi (British, b. June 9, 1943). Saatchi both collected Turk's work and included it in the seminal exhibition Sensation in 1997. Turk's work is sometimes borrowed from artists such as Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) and Yves Klein (French, 1928–1962). These influences, however, appear to be incidental and relate more to the specific pieces Turks selects than the artists that created them.
His works demonstrate an ongoing preoccupation with the philosophical idea of authenticity, the meaning of authorship, the role of celebrity in art, and the nature of originality. This preoccupation with authorship and the role of celebrity in art manifests itself in Turk's frequent use of his own image in place of iconic celebrities, such as Elvis. His works have been displayed in museums and galleries across much of Western Europe, including the Museum of Contemporary Arts in the Netherlands, the South London Gallery in England, the Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, and the Aruel Scheibler Gallery in Berlin. Turk maintains an online gallery of his work on his official website. The artist lives and works in London.