Gavin Turk’s new exhibition tackles Hackney gentrification

PUBLISHED: 18:01 19 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:33 20 September 2016

Gavin Turk's Exhaust etching

Gavin Turk's Exhaust etching


The recent announcement that Vittoria Wharf in Hackney Wick is to be demolished brought a familiar word to everyone’s lips: gentrification.

The local art scene in Hackney Wick has seen better days.

The area used to be renowned for its collection of artists, but the recent announcement that Vittoria Wharf is to be demolished brought a familiar word to everyone’s lips: gentrification. The warehouse has long been home to a host of art studios, galleries and independent businesses, and plans to replace it with a footbridge seems to speak volumes about the direction the area was heading in.

But local Young British Artist Gavin Turk doesn’t plan on taking recent developments lying down, and is fighting back the only way he knows how: by creating art.

Teaming up with social enterprise Creative Wick and a host of other local businesses, Gavin has created a series of prints which he hopes will help promote the local art scene in Hackney Wick.

“The idea came about because it just seemed like the right time to do something,” says Turk.

“There are so many people who were here who have had to move out already, and I felt something needed to be done.”

The exhibition, Transit, launches a series of new etchings derived from the emissions of Turk’s white transit van. Profits from the sale of the prints will go towards the ongoing work of Creative Wick, and founder William Chamberlain feels it’s important to get local businesses involved in the project.

“Initiatives like this enable us to raise awareness of the constant struggle for recognition of the vital role that artists and the wider creative economy play in the process of urban renewal,” he says.

“Working alongside local companies such as Currell estate agents is important, because it gives them a sense of the culture of the area. Estate agents are often seen as the agents of gentrification, but if we can get them involved from the start they can truly appreciate the value of a creative economy to the area.”

The exhibition will take place in furniture shop Béton Brut, with a transit van crushed into a perfect cuboid as the centre piece.

And Turk hopes it will go some way toward making people appreciate the unique nature of a local art scene.

“I just hope it will make people aware of the value of art,” he says. “It’s a small step, but it keeps the conversation going, and that’s important.”

The exhibition will run up until December 10. Viewings in the week are by appointment only, but the gallery will be open from 12 to 5 on Saturdays.

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