Archival inkjet print on Somerset Satin Enhanced 330gsm with gold silkscreen 2017 30 × 42cm
Gavin Turk, the curator of the Turkish Tulips Portfolio, has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and rubbish in art. His work is a series of assisted readymade objects that seem commonplace but are ‘détourned’ or transformed in often unexpected ways, referencing of authorship, value, authenticity and identity. His academically rigorous process which questions the frame of art as well as the contemporary condition of the human requires a philosophical discourse around visual art from the audience. His engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back through the lineage of art history.
For his own contribution to the Portfolio Turk has reproduced a photograph of a Turkish ‘tulip’ tea glass with a gold leaf signature across it reading ‘Gavin Turkish’. The ‘-ish’ suffix — pertaining to the Turk as well as to the glass itself — plays with ideas of national identity as well as tea being our national drink despite being imported through the ancient Ottoman trade routes as well as a sense of the exotic or foreign.