Nick Hackworth

Gavin Turk/The Che Gavara Story, The Foundry

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

Gavin Turk likes to pretend he’s famous. He notoriously failed his Royal College of Art MA for presenting at his degree show, an English Heritage plaque commemorating his own presence at the college. Since then he’s assumed the personas of, amongst others, Sid Vicious and Marat for a series of life-size wax works, aping our obsession with fame by appropriating it for himself.

So when he announced a two-week-long series of events and discussions entitled The Story of Che Gavara, there was confusion (Gav as in Gavin ...). Would the two weeks focus on the real Che as the publicity claimed? Would they bring a 1968-style collaboration between artists and crusty political activists? Or would Turk, as usual, appropriate an icon for his own, purely artistic, ends? Well, the two weeks kicked off on Monday to a mildly inauspicious start.

After the media circus had departed and the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels (Che’s favourite snack?) had been eaten, there were only 10 of us left at the inaugural meeting. Seated on plastic chairs in a cold, sunlit room above a shabby pub in Shoreditch, we formed a rag-tag band of assorted journos and artists and waited to see what would happen. Not much, unfortunately. We talked mainly about what should happen over the next two weeks. But we seemed unsure as to whether we should be learning about Che, making art or generally go around being socialist in some unspecified way.

At least the two weeks of organised chaos promise to be fun, if not the genesis of a new political era. A German reporter from Der Spiegel asked hopefully if there were likely to be any Zapatista guerrillas hanging around London, and if so could we get in touch with them? The suggestion somehow got lost in the consensual debate.

Discussions and activities begin at 11am during the day (planning and activities) and 7pm in the evening (films, talks, cigar smoking). Mon-Sat. Location: The New Foundry, 84-86 Great Eastern Street, London EC2 (Side door). To participate call 0207 379 6932 or visit, or just turn up.