Occupation: Sculptor, Visual Artist
Education: Robinson College, Cambridge
“Peter Hull,” 2000
“Alison Lapper Pregnant,” 2005
“Toxic Sublime,” 2015
Marc Quinn is a British sculptor and visual artist who uses unconventional materials like his own blood, ice, placenta of his new-born son and faeces to make sculptures. He is one of the major artists of the group called Young British Artists and he explores the human body in all its complexities: its surface and depth, its mutability and its spiritual and physical features. A sculpture called "Self" in which he made a cast of his head using his own blood is one of the most recognisable image of contemporary art.
Quinn was born in London in 1964 . His mother was French while his father was British, a physicist in Paris. He was a student of history and art history at Robinson College, Cambridge. Before that he had assisted sculptor Barry Flanagan. Quinn was part of the Young British artist group and was the first YBA artist to be signed on by art dealer and director of White Cube, Jay Jopling and later he was part of the exhibition "Sensation” curated by Charles Saatchi.
Quinn had made a series of sculptures that are kept on life support like his blood heads, and frozen flowers. They need infrastructure and technology to be preserved.
It was in 1991 that he made the first blood head titled "Self". He was inspired by Rembrandt, who made a series of self-portraits to mark his life. He once said that “Self” was “a Beckett version of Rembrandt”. Quinn has been making a new "Self" every five years and he has made five by now. To make each portrait Quinn extracts eight pints of his blood. He chose blood as a medium because he wanted to use a material that was not used in sculpture. He also wanted to use a part of his own body and according to him, “blood was the only part of my body I could take out without mutilating myself.” He fixes the head over a stainless-steel plinth that contains a refrigeration unit to defy ageing. The first blood head started to dry due to air but later Quinn invented a method and started using liquid silicon to freeze the heads. He has also frozen flowers and made paintings of human irises. All this reveals his engagement with themes of human body, identity, sexuality and mortality.
He made a sculpture of artist Alison Lapper who was born with disability: she had no arms and her legs were very short. In 2005 he won a competition and his “Alison Lapper Pregnant ” was adorned at the Fourth Plinth of London’s Trafalgar Square. He is also well known for his series on model Kate Moss in yogic postures. In 2011, his depiction of Kate Moss in 18-karat-gold called “ Microcosmos (Siren)” which he had made in 2008, sold for $900,000 in an auction.
From people with dismembered bodies, Quinn has recently moved his attention to people who have undergone changed their bodies surgically through plastic surgery and artificial implants. In 2010 in a show he had made sculptures of trangender pregnant man for a show at White Cube gallery. One of the sculptures that he had made was of a couple featuring porn stars Allanah Starr , a trans man with penis and Buck Angel, a trans man with vagina. They were his modern day Adam and Eve.
1964 - Born in London
1991 - Makes his first head of the “Self” series
2005 - Wins a competition to adorn his “Alison Lapper Pregnant” at the Fourth Plinth of London’s Trafalgar Square
2011 - His 18-karat gold Kate Moss “ Microcosmos (Siren)” which he had made in 2008, sells for $900,000 in an auction
2008 - Western Front, Canada
2010 - White Cube, London
2013 - White Cube, Hong Kong
2014 - Centro De Arte Contemporaneo De Malaga, Spain
2015 - Galerie Thomas Modern, Munich
2015 - White Cube, London
2015 - Somerset House, London
Tate Gallery, London
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Tacoma Art Museum, Washington
Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK
“Marc Quinn: Memory Box” by Germano Celant
“Marc Quinn” by Rod Mengham and Marc Quinn
“Marc Quinn: Myth” by Danilo Eccher and Marc Quinn