Gavin Turk - about Rosy Lee at the COLLECTION exhibition

Veiled in his signature ambivalent play between concepts of identity and authenticity, Gavin Turk presents a provocative mechanical sculpture of a fortune-telling gypsy, Rosy Lee. This belongs to Turk’s investigation of mystic automatons that all bear an uncanny likeness to himself. The work sits in stark contrast to the luxurious context of the Metropole, while at the same time appealing to the traditional and seductive strategy of disguise, a quintessential Venetian trait. Rosy Lee belongs to the margins of society – the circus and the seaside amusement arcade - where she occupies a liminal space that is neither inside nor out. Cockney rhyming slang for a-cup-of-tea, Rosy Lee is also a nod to Turk’s interest in tea and its relation to cultural trade, working class Britishness and, of course, the tradition of reading tea leaves. While Rosy Lee is also art rhyming slang for Rrose Sélavy, the drag name of Marcel Duchamp’s female alter ego – an allusion to art’s ability to alter perception and its parallels with the fortune-teller’s mysterious powers. So Rosy Lee will tell the fortune of anyone who places a coin in the slot of her booth.


10 May - 2 July 2017
Gervasuti Foundation - Metropole Hotel - Riva degli Schiavoni - Venezia