Gavin Turk, born in 1967, is a British artist and is considered to be one of the Young British Artists (also known as the YBAs); the loose group of visual artists who first began to exhibit together in London in 1988. Many of the artists graduated from the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths, in the late 1980s. Turk’s oeuvre or ‘theme’ plays with issues of authenticity and identity, engaged with modernist and avant-garde debates surrounding the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of a work of art. In the Herbert gallery, there were two pieces of work by Turk called ‘Signature Car Boots’, both 2007 (picture below, my photography as I ‘think’ it was allowed in this part of the exhibition).


IMG_20130321_112245These 3d pieces are stunning in person. As an avid car fan (even though I’m still only learning how to drive, and have no intention of getting a car when/if I pass), I really loved these sculptures (if you can call them that). There wasn’t too much ‘about’ these boots – they were both stripped of number plates and then signed by Gavin Turk himself. All the sign signature remained, and the signature acts like another piece of information about the car – so it poses as a collaboration between Honda (bottom image) and Gavin Turk (the artist).

A question/hint I read at the exhibition:

“Have you ever written your name on a piece of artwork you have done? Why did you do this?

Find the artist’s name on this artwork. Would you think differently about the artwork if it wasn’t signed?”

I think this sums up the concept behind this piece perfectly. It’s very simple and make it a very personal piece for Gavin Turk – as the artwork is ‘made’ by him signing it.