《洞穴》(1995) 是托克在皇家藝術學院碩士畢業時的作品複製版本，此作亦正是令他無法畢業的原因。在空空如也的工作室裡，托克只掛起一塊模仿英國文化遺產委員會的藍色小牌匾，上面寫著「肯辛頓區 雕塑家 格文•托克 1989-1991年 曾在此工作」。這類牌匾通常掛在名人故居外面以作紀念，並須符合多項條件才可掛上，其中一項是要該名人已逝世二十年或以上，並且「對人類繁榮和福祉作出過重大貢獻」。當時托克的事業尚未開始，他掛上牌匾，是要嘗試預示自己的成就。這行動將工作室轉為裝置空間，因著牌匾帶有隆重意味，而改變了我們對空間的感知。畢業試委員會認為托克這件作品「未能符合畢業試要求的水準」，覆核後決定不授予其碩士學位。
Gavin Turk was born in 1967 in Guildford, England. He attended the Royal College of Art, London between 1989 and 1991 and currently lives and works in London.
Cave (1995) is a reworked replication of a piece that caused Turk to fail his Masters at the Royal College of Art. As part of his degree show presentation, he simply presented an empty studio space with just a blue imitation English Heritage plaque hanging on the wall. The plaque bore the words “Borough of Kensington GAVIN TURK Sculptor Worked Here 1989-1991”. These plaques are usually found on the exteriors of buildings to commemorate once famous inhabitants. Conditions of being awarded this plaque are, amongst other criteria, that you must have been dead for at least twenty years and “have made an important contribution to human welfare or happiness”. By presenting the plaque, Turk attempted to validate his future importance to society before his career had even begun. By turning his studio into an installation space he also changed the way that the space was perceived, the plaque giving it an apparent air of significance. The Final Examination Board decided that Turk had “displayed insufficient work of the standard required for Final Examination” and so, following re-examination, refused to award him an MA certificate.
Upon leaving college, Turk continued his career in a similar vein, working around the central themes of authorship, authenticity and identity, often casting himself as the main subject of his work. An example of this can be found in one of Turk’s most well-known works Pop (1993), where the artist adopts the identity of young punk icon Sid Vicious as a life-size waxwork singing “My Way” in the pose of Elvis Presley, as once depicted by Andy Warhol. The reference to Warhol is again apparent in his Faces (2004) portfolio. Turk unashamedly copies the techniques of the American artist who, in the 1980s, created a similar print of his rival, German artist Joseph Beuys, as a way to mock his credibility. The set of six images, shown here, appear to be that of Elvis Presley, Che Guevera and Joseph Beuys but upon closer inspection (and with clues such as the play on words in the titles such as “Gavara Reversed”) it is actually Turk himself made up to look like the iconic images, again questioning the notion of identity.
Turk’s work was included in the influential exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection in 1997 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. His work has been included in many group and solo exhibitions including the White Elephant, Sean Kelly, New York, 2004, and Material Culture, Hayward Gallery, London, 1997.