The History of Art by Gavin Turk at the Galleria Scognamiglio

Word games and calembour for titles, useless and discarded objects transformed into treasures and the artist’s signature on everything, a brand that makes the work really take off. Gavin Turk surprises, bringing to the Galleria Scognamiglio his History of Art, along with the “myth” of the artist and the iconic power of works of art, subjected to his important questions on the originality of works, the paternity of masters and the market value of works. Reflecting on the authenticity of works of art, but also on the capacity that their values have on influencing meaning and perception, the English artist draws inspiration from works by modern colleagues, from Boetti to Duchamp, from Fontana to Magritte. In a sort of “recycling” of the history of art, in a game that offers the dexterity of interpretation, leading to the creation of new objects, Turk uses the works of masters that revolutionised the concept of art, simplifying these works to stylistic clichés, stereotypes that assume mere brand names like objects churned out of a factory. In giving new form to symbols, already well-established, he unites them with his own personal view, giving life to something new. Such is the case with Widower, inspired on one hand by Fresh Widow by Duchamp, and on the other The Key to Dreams by Magritte. This last piece was used on the cover of the celebrated book by John Berger Ways of Seeing, in which the author sustained that our perceptions are governed by what we know and what we believe, rather than by what is “real”. And Turk, as an invitation to the exhibition, has created an answer to the cover of Berger’s book, with the desire to provoke questions on art and the relationship of art with reality and thought.
Samantha De Martin - © 2017 for Bulgari Hotel Milano