Gavin Turk, A Night at Bird Land [detail], 2009. Photo: 16 Miles [more]
At first, it seems that Gavin Turk is following his usual formula, adopting Jackson Pollock as his latest macho disguise. (Previous projects have explored Guevara, Presley, and Sid Vicious, most famously). There are copies of Pollock drip paintings with manic, sardonic titles in the main space (Something Different!!!!!, Ascension, both 2009), while the side galleries contain various curiosities: 2008’s Ash, actually composed of bronze, and 50/50 (2007), a mirrored table with a continuously spinning copper coin. A video features Turk dressed as a chess-playing automaton (The Mechanical Turk, 2008), moving the same, single piece around an empty board. It’s a dangerously apt metaphor for Turk’s career of camouflage conceptualism. If his parodic approach to art history seems tired – a caricature of itself – that’s the point. The results, the Pollock copies especially, are intensely pleasurable, and, in photographs modeled on Hans Namuth’s mythologizing portraits of Pollock at work, Turk appears to be having the time of his life.