I saw Gavin Turk’s exhibition Gavin + Turk at Ben Brown Fine Art last week, where he examines his name as a brand. The exhibition is responding to Italian conceptual artist Alighiero Boetti, who is featured at the Tate Modern until May, and the nature of symbols.
There were some very beautiful painted canvases in black. white and gold, where Turk’s name was spelt out in capitals, each one taking a square to fill all the canvas. The thing that sat with me, though, were the works like Gavin e Turk (Blue Biro), 2012, where entire canvases were filled with neat lines of biro with negative spaces in the shape of apostrophes to mark out letters in a code for Turk’s name. The biro and codes seemed rather charming and schoolboyish, taking me back to the days of reading Hardy Boys adventures with invisible ink and villains.
Negative space is something I use a lot in photography, but not elsewhere much, so wanted to work with that idea. However, it wouldn’t be something on Turk’s scale, since my patience for drawing repetitive lines is limited, so here’s where it went. It’s done with a Muji .38 black ink marker on watercolour paper. Oh, and this means the Boetti is another exhibition for the ‘must see’ list, perhaps combined with Yayoi Kusama. I’m going to see Picasso and Modern British Art later this week, it may have to be next week.