Gavin Turk: Is Contemporary Art Trash? Is Trash Contemporary Art?


If you're at all versed in contemporary art, you've probably heard of Gavin Turk. The British artist has earned a name for himself through eclectic pieces that question the issues of authenticity, identity and authorship.

Much like Marcel Duchamp in the early 20th century, Turk often uses "readymades" to challenge the "myth" of the artist and fuel conversations around what exactly constitutes art. In his latest installation titled Transubstantiation, Turk pushes the limits even further or, shall we say, deeper. 

How deep? Right into the bottom of a waste container, commonly referred to as "skip" in British English.  

Partnering with the London-based Skip Gallery, an improvised gallery space inside a huge waste container you usually see on the side of the street filled with construction rubble and whatnot, Turk has created a tongue-in-cheek piece that is, among all things, very meta.

Inside the skip – a place to dispose of rubbish – we see a packet of Skips prawn cocktail, a popular snack in the UK. According to the artist, the chips reminded him of the sacramental bread used in the ritual of Eucharist by Roman Catholics.

All that, assigned the status of an art piece then put inside a trash container is Turk's way of commenting on our contemporary art, consumerism and our relationship with the things we choose to throw away.

Learn more about Gavin Turk's Skip Gallery show by visiting this website. Also, make sure to watch the featured and head over to Canvas' YouTube channel to see more interviews with Turk.