In Depth

Gavin Turk takes over the Newport Street Gallery

A major retrospective of the boundary-bending YBA's work can be found at Damien Hirst's South London art space

It was in his now-infamous Royal College of Art degree show in 1991 that a young Gavin Turk presented his work Cave – a whitewashed studio space empty save for an English Heritage-style blue plaque saying: "Gavin Turk, sculptor, worked here 1989–1991". It earned him a fail for his master's degree but became the catalyst for a successful career to come, which saw him become a part of the Young British Artists (YBA) movement that dominated the UK art scene for much of the 1990s.

Turk's first major solo exhibition in more than a decade is a natural fit for Lambeth's Newport Street Gallery, which is owned by the defining leader of the movement, Damien Hirst. Who What When Where How and Why is a retrospective of the artist's provocative pieces in his personal collection alongside other influential figures of the time, including Charles Saatchi.

Hirst, a key champion of Turk's work, says: "I started collecting Gavin's work 20 years ago. He's an incredibly powerful artist. His work is about language and the spaces between things – about identity and being somebody and nobody. He plays with our preconceptions of what's there and not there, of what art is and how it functions.

"He's had a major impact on the British scene, so it's great to be able to show such an extensive collection of his work at Newport Street."

Alongside the iconic plaque, on display will be a selection that traces the artist's exploration of authorship and identity, such as his painted bronze sculptures that comprise the "rubbish" series, made to look like everyday objects such as refuse sacks and a sleeping bag, while other highlights include his reimagining of Andy Warhol's Elvis screen prints.

Who What When Where How and Why is at the Newport Street Gallery until 19 March 2017; newportstreetgallery.com

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