First, fail your degree course ...

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The Independent Culture
"I OFTEN THINK I am involved in making time bombs," says the Saatchi- backed Young British Artist Gavin Turk, whose first major solo exhibition since 1994, Gavin Turk - The Stuff Show, opens on Thursday in south London. Much of his work attempts, in its simplicity and by the everyday nature of its material, to question the value systems of the art establishment. At Stuff, there will be a chewing-gum wall relief and works made from eggshells and polystyrene balls. Turk himself is the subject of many of the pieces, as in portrait of something that i'll never really see (detail, above). This has been an ongoing feature of his work since his time at the RCA, where his final degree show piece, Cave, consisted of a studio, completely bare apart from a blue wall-mounted plaque which read: "Borough of Kensington / Gavin Turk / Sculptor / Worked here 1989- 91".

Turk failed his degree, but he is a major presence in the BritArt bratpack. On show will be Bum, the culmination of a project that began at the opening of the Royal Academy's Sensation 1997 exhibition. Turk trumped his peers (no mean feat, when you think that they included Damien Hirst and Marcus Harvey, whose now-infamous Portrait of Myra got the tabloids all hot under the collar) by making a public appearance as a vagrant dressed in rags.

Comparing "Stuff" to his 1994 show, Turk says: "The other show was an invention of this artist called Gavin Turk, and the south London exhibition is almost like an attempt to take the piss out of this artist Gavin Turk ... I'm slightly cliche-ing my own work now." Hype and self-analysis aside, the Stuff show is highly recommended for the quality of the works alone. His sculptures can be finely made, modelled and cast; and his drawings of rubbish are beautifully detailed. And, as Turk himself says, "with most of them you don't have to spend that long. You can come and see them and then go, but hopefully they somehow enter into the mind and linger." (South London Gallery, SE5, 0171 703 6120, Thurs to 18 Oct.)

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