British artist Gavin Turk sells cans of his own urine

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British artist Gavin Turk sells cans of his own urine
British artist Gavin Turk sells cans of his own urine for its equivalent weight in silver.

LONDON.- British artist Gavin Turk has launched a Kickstarter in which he will sell bespoke aluminium cans of his own urine for its equivalent weight in silver. Entitled Piscio d’Artista, the project is a homage to art history - in particular to Piero Manzoni’s 1961 Merda d’Artista, in which the Italian artist challenged the idea of modern art by selling tins of his own excrement for their weight in gold.

In preparation for Piscio d’Artista, the boundary-pushing artist, who has been collecting his urine over the last two years of the global pandemic, has developed an aluminium can specially screen-printed with the phrase “artist’s piss” in 31 languages, and sealed with a hand-signed foil. He is turning his studio (in Canning Town in London) into a temporary canning factory in order to create a limited run of one thousand 330ml tins, to be priced relative to their equivalent weight in silver.

“I am fascinated by the life of things and what we ‘throw’ away,” says Gavin Turk. “A connection is severed as something disappears from me and is thrown away, and when I look at those disposed of things, I learn so much about how, what, why and who we are. As visual philosophy, art is always going to be seen through the paradigm of other art - a system of symbols and signs that are recycled through the generations.”

The Kickstarter Backer Rewards include a Blue Heritage Badge inspired by the plaque featured in his iconic Cave installation, a special dinner at Atelier Gavin Turk, the cans themselves, as well as limited edition prints and his iconic t-shirts.

To launch the campaign, Gavin Turk is, once again, collaborating with next-generation digital PR agency, Hot Cherry, who have agreed to be paid in cans of Gavin’s urine.

“After hosting The Bowes Museum’s successful 2014 campaign to install Gavin’s neon art on their fašade, we’re thrilled to have Gavin back on Kickstarter,” says Patton Hindle, Kickstarter’s Director of Arts. “This project, definitely one of our most unique, reflects Kickstarter’s commitment to boundary-pushing art.”

Gavin Turk is a British born, international artist associated with the Young British Artists. He has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of waste in art. Turk’s practice deals with conversations of authorship and identity, concerned with the ‘myth’ of the artist and the authenticity of a work.

His sense of fun has never been far from the pathos of the work as he questions, surprises and engages in turn. His reputation like his work is elusive as he has played a role in shaping the reflexive punkish sensibility of British contemporary art in recent times.

His work deftly transitions from portraits of anti-hero’s and iconic figures to art historical jokes and most of all his fascination with our profligate culture - rubbish - the waste of our time.

His oeuvre has been the subject of a monograph published by Prestel, as well as Trolley Books publication, “This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk,” which playfully explores themes associated with the artist’s work via thirty notable contributors.

Gavin Turk’s public sculptures, include, Nail, a 12-meter sculpture at One New Change, next to St Paul’s Cathedral, London; Axis Mundi (2017), an oversized plug in Paddington Basin, London; and L’┬ge d’Or (2019), a large open door sited outside the Museum of Migration as part of the Sculpture International Rotterdam.

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