Marc Quinn Archaeology of Art

The Archaeology of Art sculptures are based on the forms of real shells - the most perfect pre-existing sculptural 'readymades' in our natural world. The found forms are enlarged using a 3D printer and cast in aluminium, concrete, stainless steel or bronze. Marc Quinn polishes the inside of the shells to a high sheen, contrasting with their heavily textured surfaces. Like the rings on a tree, these surfaces tell of the age and history of the object, like some kind of found structural diagram, whereas the sculpture’s highly polished, reflective insides remain in the present moment, continually reflecting the present. The Broken Sublime sculptures are modelled from shells which have been broken into by humans in order to eat the flesh inside, and highlight how our relationship to nature is shaped by needs of the moment.  

Marc Quinn (British, born 1964) is a leading 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. Marc Quinn makes art about what it is to be a person living in the world – whether it concerns Man’s relationship with nature and how that is mediated by human desire; or what identity and beauty mean and why people are compelled to transform theirs; or representing current, social history in his work. His work also connects frequently and meaningfully with art history, from Modern masters right back to antiquity.

The making of all of nature flows through us ~ Mark Quinn

The Frozen Wave 

Mark Quinn series of sculptures, minimal arcs, in stainless steel and white concrete, includes one measuring 7.5 metres long, form part of a body of work titled ‘Frozen Waves’. These primal, gestural shapes originate from the remnants of shells, eroded by the endless action of the waves. In the moment before they disappear and become sand, all conch shells end up in a similar form – an arch that looks like a wave, as though an unwitting self-portrait by nature. With titles referencing the science of fluid dynamics and rendered in different scales and cast in stainless steel or concrete, the result appears like a sculpture of a wave yet also something primordial and ambiguous, mined from the depths of time; a reminder that the forces that shape nature are more powerful – and will last longer – than us, however much we interfere with the planet. Elegant and minimal, they and their titles (taken from the science of fluid dynamics) point to a magical material transformation: the crystallisation of movement into form.


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