Gavin Turk, the 44 year old artist and his long time girlfriend Deborah Curtis were married yesterday as part of an elaborate art installation. The House Of Fairytales, a project started six years ago, featured material based on imagery of familiar childhood fairytales. This inspired the theme of the marriage, held during his stint as artist in residence at the stately home. Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s bed, was on exhibition yesterday and it included a man dressed as a sheep and another as a sailor. They stated that they were “just keeping it warm for the artist to use later”. The ceremony was held in the Great Hall of Hall Place, a 16th-Century manor house near Bexley, Kent, where the bride and groom are currently artists in residence.
Turk said, “He has explored the role of an artist; and now He is exploring marriage”. The ‘Young British Artist ‘ tied the knot with his partner of 24 years,. “It’s a kind of experiment,” he told the Independent “But maybe every marriage is a bit of an experiment.” What promises to be a dream wedding takes place at The House of Fairy Tales, Turk’s latest installation, at Hall Place, Bexley, a Grade I-listed manor. “Several hundred” friends, some YBAs among them. With three children, why now? “We’re quite slow at doing things.”, he mused! It rained for most of the day but this did not dampen the spirits of the 100 plus guests who sheltered in a marquee decorated by the artist.
Turk was born in 1967 in Guildford England and went to the Royal College of Art in London. In 1991 Turk was denied his MA certificate from the Royal College of Art for his degree show presentation, which consisted of an empty white studio with a blue English Heritage plaque installed, which simply bore the inscription “Borough of Kensington / GAVIN TURK / Sculptor / Worked Here 1989-1991.” Beginning his career paradoxically with his own demise and posthumous recognition set the tone for his subsequent work, which dealt with the cult of personality and the construction of artistic myth. Senior members of staff refused Turk his MA degree the first time this ever happened. However, many visitors, including the young art dealer, Jay Jopling, recognized the artwork as a serious, multi-layered installation with a knowing take on art history. The piece brought Turk critical acclaim and academic notoriety in equal measure.
Turk’s work has been collected by Charles Saatchi and was presented in Saatchi’s most influential and controversial exhibition ‘Sensation’ (1997), marking his presence as a central figure of the YBA group. He rose to prominence in the early 1990s during the so-called ‘young British artists’ phenomenon: a wave of media interest provoked by an ambitious generation of artists with a flair for self-promotion. Turk’s thoughtful, visually striking work gained him a reputation as an artist who questioned the nature and values of identity, pop culture, and art itself.
Turk is a leading figure in British contemporary art. His 1991 work ” Pop”, the waxwork figure of himself as Sid Vicious, are among the iconic artworks of the 1990s. His “self-portrait” signatures and his finely crafted sculptures of everyday objects (such as cardboard boxes cast in bronze) bring the commonplace into an art space and challenge the viewer to engage in new ways.