Gavin Turk, The Spirit of Painting

Gavin Turk, The Spirit of Painting
The Roof of Coronet Theatre

Zone 2 - Notting Hill + Holland Park

103 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LB, UK




24 hours



Mysteriously landing on the cupola of The Coronet Theatre during the quiet of a global pandemic, a lonely figure poses in the adlocutio stance of an Emperor in ancient Rome addressing his troops. Contra to this heroic posture, this figure portrays the artist in his studio overalls painting the sky with a paintbrush instead of a sword, palette as shield. Originally designed to have a sculpture of Mercury on the roof of the theatre, now the messenger God of commerce has become a prophetic painter of our current hubris.

“Imagine being ‘in the sky, I thought of an oversized paint splattered stepladder on the roof, to help a giant decorator to paint the clouds or change the earth’s light bulb (sun)” Gavin Turk

Gavin Turk uses art historical referencing as a material to question art itself. This figure takes its form from Alfred Drury’s sculpture of Sir Joshua Reynolds, a familiar iconic statue grand-standing in the courtyard of the Royal Academy. Where the Drury sculpture portrays the first president of the RA as a member of the establishment, this contemporary classic presents the artist as artisanal workman. At this time of fierce debate around public sculpture this portrait brings a new provocation to the conversation.

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