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Yard - CCA Andratx

25 July - 15 December 2015
Gallery: CCA Andratx

The CCA Andratx is pleased to present “Yard”, a solo exhibition by Gavin Turk.

View online catalogue

One of the leading proponents of the Young British Artists movement, Gavin Turk is best known for his elaborate re-enactments of art history’s legends – from Marat and Magritte to Boetti and Warhol – adopting their works’ aesthetics, creative processes, and even their public personas for his own critical and democratic myth-making.

This artistic ‘regeneration’ – here applied to his own practice – is the underlying concept of Turk’s latest work: Yard, a short film shot in the vacant lot adjacent to Turk’s studio, one of the few industrial plots not yet re-developed in East London’s property boom. Framing this rubbish strewn brown site in the vernacular of shoot ‘em up video games, Turk positions the viewer as artist-avatar on a stealth-like and predatory mission to repurpose territory in modernism’s wasteland. As the camera surveils capitalism’s ruins – debris which reappears in the sculptural elements of the show – the defunct and discarded are scrutinized as cultural relics and potential creative solutions.

Within a darkened gallery lit only by sodium street lights – suggesting both nocturnal uncertainty and museological conservation – Turk activates the notion of cultural- and self- excavation in the accompanying sculptural works, which include: a distressed version of his The Golden Thread (2004) – a maze constructed from two-way mirror – that exposes its own history as it returns an imperfect reflection back to the viewer; We Are One (2014), a large-scale neon light work pronouncing the exact number of the world’s population at 18.30 January 24th 2014 – the moment the piece came into being. Exhibited alongside are new works: playground-scale mobiles constructed from the remnants of scaffolding, rusted exhaust pipe, and blown out tyres found in Turk’s Yard, dangle with brutal grace; while prized items of the lot’s detritus are enshrined in a dichroic glass cube.

Each exhibited work has its own specificity to London – from fabrication in Turk’s landmark studio, to being originally showcased in lore exhibitions ranging on the status scale from White Cube to the fringe-fest Art Car Boot Sale. Transplanted to Mallorca, “Yard” is a site reconstruction – post-industrial, post-economic, post-ownership – mapping and re-mapping Turk’s own history as a vacant platform for regeneration, to be occupied at will by all.

Text by Patricia Ellis

Exhibition kindly supported by SCHOTT


'Somewhere between the Wasteland and The Hollow Men this journey through the degradation of an urban warzone, an auto graveyard - the no mans land is perhaps the artist’s darkest hour. An unrelenting musing on consumerism, tarnished modernism and post-capitalist excess mesmerizes like the unrelenting Wake of Joyce. Daydream-mares transported in idyllic decadence to museum on the ‘desert island’.

The title Yard; is an old English measurement; a yardstick to measure the state of being or a place to hangout for disaffected youth. A dry, wry humour is still evident in the backwards evolution of the monkey-like/child-like mobiles, the playful palindromes and the art-historical eloquence of the language and visual puns.
But the warning of the twilight world, the theatrical lighting making the world more alluring than the cold light of day. Through the looking glass lies the future - or are we there already? Lit by a dozen mini-suns the outside inside caught in our between world.

Full of messages of perimeters and demarcation, reading meaning in the abstract
the artist is inhabiting the Temporary Autonomous Zone of his sub-conscious, imagining art from waste. Patiently waiting for nature to embrace the abandoned landscape – to navigate the immortal plastic and metal with its inexorable tendrils. The modernist logic ends not with a bang but a tarnished mirror.'

Text by Gavin Turk