Contemporary artist Marc Quinn has a long history of working with top celebrities, often casting them as the subject of his work. We recently had the honour of showing Quinn’s famous Pamela Anderson twin sculpture at Maddox Gallery Los Angeles, and it never failed to captivate our visitors. But what inspires these collaborations?
Throughout many of his works, Quinn uses the human body to explore themes such as beauty, power and identity. His subjects range from supermodels to refugees, disabled artists and of course, himself.
In October 2018, artist Marc Quinn’s striking sculpture ‘Song of the Siren’ (2010) sold for £380,000. Formed from solid 18-carat gold, this is just one of several sculptures Quinn has dedicated to British supermodel Kate Moss.
In fact, Kate Moss has served as a muse since 2006, and Quinn associates the model with the long line of archetypal female figures featured in art history. Through his sculptures, Quinn continues to present the female body as a deified entity.
“An interesting thing about Kate Moss is that, because she never gives interviews, she’s almost purely ubiquitous image,” Marc Quinn says. “Kate’s image is sculpted by society’s collective desire, contorted by outside influences.”
Quinn’s Kate Moss artworks first garnered international recognition and widespread acclaim in 2008, when Siren was displayed at the British Museum in London. The 10kg 18-carat gold sculpture was thought to be the largest gold statue ever created since ancient Egypt.
Gold also has profound significance to the artist, manifesting themes of constructed beauty.
“Gold is a metal that humans have decided is one of the most valuable metals in the world,” Marc Quinn explains, “but like their invented images of perfection, gold itself is a belief system – inherently no more valuable than any other metal.”
Another of Marc Quinn’s collections ‘body alterations’ explores how modern science enables people to modify their external selves in order to better reflect their inner identity.
For instance, sculpture Zombie Boy (City) (2011) was inspired by Rick Genest, whose full-body tattoos made him a global celebrity and muse for the likes of Lady Gaga. Genest had arguably modified his body to the point of becoming a self-authored artwork.
The Science Museum in London recently commissioned Quinn to create ‘Self-Conscious Gene’, a 3.5 metre bronze sculpture of Zombie Boy, to feature in the museum’s new Medicine Galleries.
Marc Quinn previously collected 10 pints of his own blood to create Self (1991), a self-portrait cast of the artist’s head immersed in frozen silicone. Now, Quinn’s latest project is set to involve drawing blood from at least 5,000 people in a bid to raise awareness of the ongoing global refugee crisis.
Odyssey will consist of two metric tons of frozen blood in a pair of cubes; one cube taken from refugees; the other from non-refugees including celebrities such as Kate Moss, Jude Law, Anna Wintour and Paul McCartney.
A video component will also share the personal stories of volunteers who contributed their blood, juxtaposing uplifting messages from celebrities with tales from those forced to flee.
“The idea for Odyssey began with the simple truth that my blood and your blood is the same,” Marc Quinn states. “Under the skin we’re all the same.”
In fact, the artist hopes to acquire permission to perform DNA tests on the blood samples, creating migration maps to trace the origins of the participants.
For individuals looking to buy Marc Quinn art to add to their home, Maddox Gallery has a number of works available. Whatever type of artwork you are looking for, our expert Sotheby’s-trained art consultants are on hand across our six galleries to guide you.
Written by James Nicholls, Managing Director and Curator, Maddox Gallery.