Marc Quinn is a leading British contemporary artist. He first came to prominence in the early 1990s, when he and several peers redefined what it was to make and experience contemporary art.
In recent years, Marc Quinn art has been exhibited internationally in prestigious museums and galleries including Somerset House, Tate Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London, as well as establishments across Milan, Seoul, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Doha and Miami.
Marc Quinn also enjoys close connections to the fashion world. Projects range from collaborations with designer fashion labels Dior and Vionnet, to a series of unique iris portraits created for Harper’s Bazaar featuring Stella McCartney, Sarah Burton and Karl Lagerfeld.
For these reasons, many individuals are looking to buy Marc Quinn art as an investment asset which they can also display and enjoy. To speak with someone about choosing to invest in Marc Quinn, please get in touch with Maddox Gallery’s expert Sotheby’s-trained art consultants.
Marc Quinn art addresses a central theme of what it is to be a person living in the world. This encompasses man’s relationship with nature, human desire, identity and beauty. His work also nods to various art history genres, from antiquity through to modern masters.
Quinn came to prominence with ‘Self’ (1991), a sculpture of the artist’s head made entirely of his own frozen blood, kept at sub-zero temperatures in a refrigerated display unit. Arguably the purest form of self portrait, the works shares both the artist’s external appearance and internal materials. It also comments on man’s need for modern infrastructure, as the sculpture’s continued existence relies on a constant flow of electricity.
Marc Quinn has produced other critically acclaimed works including Garden (2000), a full
botanical garden frozen and displayed in Fondazione Prada, Milan; DNA Portrait of Sir John Sulston (2001), a genomic portrait of the genetic scientist Sir John Sulston, and Evolution (2005), ten sculptures depicting human embryos throughout the stages of its development. He also received acclaim for a series of sculptures featuring Kate Moss in yogic poses, including Siren (2008), a solid gold sculpture displayed at The British Museum, London.
Among the most well recognised collections of Marc Quinn art, his photorealist paintings of irises are simultaneously human and otherworldly.
In these works, he depicts an iris at close range on a round canvas, so that it appears virtually abstract. The pupil appears as a hole in the centre of a fine pattern of colourful lines, which are meticulously created using an airbrush.
“In the middle you have that black hole of the pupil [and] all of the mystery and uncertainty of life. It’s a very profound expression of the ambiguity which is at the heart of our existence” – Marc Quinn
The eye is traditionally seen as a mirror of the soul, and we know that an individual’s iris is as unique as their fingerprints. Using this microscopic map of an individual’s identity, Quinn looks to create ‘stealth portraits’ unique to an individual’s appearance and DNA.
“The etymology of ‘iris’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘rainbow’. And in the colours, even in quite subtle, dark colours, there is a kind of celebration of individuality” – Marc Quinn
Quinn’s iris paintings also reflect the fact that, in the age of the internet, our visual senses in large parts determine our perception of the world.
“The iris is in a way our doorway to the world, it is the window we see out of and the doorway for light to enter and interact with our nervous system. They are like a leakage of the vivid interior world of the body to the monochrome world of the skin” – Marc Quinn
In some works, Quinn has added a world map over the image of the eye, presented from various angles. This reflects the global connectivity possible thanks to modern media, and our evolving perspective of the world based on our experiences.
Elsewhere in Marc Quinn art, flowers and fruit form the subject of his work. His hyperrealist oil paintings take the traditional art form of still-life painting and subvert it to create pieces which resemble close-up photographs.
First, Quinn photographs a still-life arrangement in his studio using flowers and fruit bought in London, many of which would never bloom at the same time or even be found in the same location within the natural world.
This reflects themes of desire, human power over nature and the transient quality of time. Artworks are large in scale and dramatically coloured, appearing almost like film negatives,
reflecting the unnatural condition of these nature-based images.
“Orchids are like perfectly evolved little sculptures in themselves, they’re full of colour, interesting shapes and beauty. Even though they are a plant’s reproductive organs, they pun
on human ones too. They make you realise it is colour, life and sexuality that keeps the world
turning. They are a celebration of life.” – Marc Quinn