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This Britain

For sale: a work of rubbish art, price £80,000

It looks like a load of rubbish but an art gallery yesterday hailed a pile of black binbags as a work of "immense skill" - and slapped on a price tag of £80,000.

That might seem a trifle steep for a product that retails at about £1 for 10 but closer inspection reveals that the bags are not of the conventional plastic variety.

In fact they are a simulacrum; bronze casts coated in black paint, the creations of the British artist Gavin Turk.

The work,Pile, went on show yesterday at the White Cube Gallery in Hoxton, the fashionable London district popular with conceptual artists. Turk, 36, failed his degree at the Royal College of Art, but has become one of the stars of the BritArt establishment alongside Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Like Hirst (pickled shark), the Chapman Brothers (sex doll) and Tracey Emin (unmade bed), Turk has demonstrated an ability to take conceptual work to an extreme that infuriates art purists.

Tim Marlow, of White Cube, said: "Many people say contemporary art is a load of rubbish. Gavin makes work that looks like it and uses humour to turn the whole argument on its head. As with all good art, what you see is not quite what you get. These are in fact amazing bronze casts which have been created with great skill."

He is not alone in his appreciation. An anonymous buyer has already purchased Pile.