Marc Quinn’s wide-ranging oeuvre grapples with limits. Be it the limits of the human body or the cosmos, Quinn’s work explores the materiality of the human condition, our agency in shaping ourselves despite physical constraints and the strange intelligence that seems to govern our world. Both deeply spiritual and provocative, Quinn uses an uncompromising array of materials, from ice and blood to glass, marble or lead.
Quinn’s sculpture, paintings and drawings often deal with the distanced relationship we have with our bodies, highlighting how the conflict between the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ has a grip on the contemporary psyche. In 1999, Quinn began a series of marble sculptures of amputees as a way of re-reading the aspirations of Greek and Roman statuary and their depictions of an idealized whole. One such work depicted a heavily pregnant Alison Lapper who is a woman who was born without arms. Quinn subsequently enlarged this work to make it a major piece of public art for the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square, and the work was also featured as the center sculpture of the 2012 London Paralympics. Other key themes in his work include genetic modification and hybridism. Garden (2000), for instance, is a walk-through installation of impossibly beautiful flowers that will never decay, or his Eternal Spring sculptures, featuring flowers preserved in perfect bloom by being plunged into sub-zero silicone. Quinn’s diverse and poetic work meditates on our attempts to understand or overcome the transience of human life through scientific knowledge and artistic expression.
Quinn has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Groninger Museum and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and more recently at the Cini Foundation in Venice as well as in group exhibitions at The British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include The Arter Foundation, Istanbul in February 2014.
Courtesy of White Cube.