Gavin Turk: Now
A neon installation of the global population
Opening 17 March 2015
Artist Gavin Turk opens installation ‘Now’ at the top of Somerset House’s New Wing – a neon sculpture of the estimated global population as of 17 March 2015
Artist Gavin Turk will light up the façade of Somerset House’s New Wing with his new installation ‘Now’, a reworked neon sculpture which will display the estimated population of the world on Tuesday 17 March 2015 – the day of its unveiling – which should stand at 7, 315, 694, 298 according to the artist.
Measuring 10m wide by 1m high, the illuminated installation is intended as “a symbolic threshold, inviting visitors to transcend through a fixed point in time” as they pass underneath it to enter Somerset House’s New Wing. Somerset House, the site where births and deaths were registered for over a century and thus where the population of Britain was once counted, makes for a compelling site from which to display Turk’s message.
At the end of 2014, Somerset House’s New Wing opened its doors to visitors for the very first time, after being closed to the general public since it was completed in 1856. The New Wing was originally built to house the expanding Inland Revenue, who were resident in the Wing until 2013 when Somerset House Trust negotiated its acquisition. Since then, Somerset House has opened Spring, Skye Gyngell’s first London restaurant; Pennethorne’s, a café bar inspired by New Wing’s architect James Pennethorne; a gallery and events space which hosted street art exhibition Mapping the City in January 2015 and will continue to showcase young, creative designers and makers.