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The greatest hits of Marc Quinn

The one-time YBA is one of the most important contemporary sculptors in Britain. Ahead of his new show at Sir John Soane‘s Museum, we highlight some of Marc Quinn‘s greatest and most gruesome hits

By Eddy Frankel
National Portrait Gallery London

A sculpture of his head made out of his own blood

Quinn harvested ten pints of his own blood in order to create the first ‘Self’ sculpture back in 1991. Six years later, Charles Saatchi showed the sanguine popsicle, the ultimate vampire’s Solero, as part of the iconic ‘Sensation’ exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Quinn has remade it every five years, which you’d imagine plays havoc with his blood pressure.

Marc Quinn: Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005)
Marc Quinn: Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005)
Photo: Justine Simons

Alison Lapper on the Fourth Plinth

The 15-ton marble sculpture of disabled artist Alison Lapper nude and pregnant watched benignly and defiantly over Trafalgar Square from the Fourth Plinth for two years. It wasn’t without controversy, with critics quick to accuse Quinn of exploiting Lapper for shock value. But plenty more people saw it as a brilliant, and very necessary, step in visibility for disability issues. 

© Justine Simons


Kate Moss made of pure gold doing a painful-looking yoga pose

Supermodel and Lord Mayor of Croydon Kate Moss has been something of a muse for Quinn. He has repeatedly carved her out of fine marble in all sorts of twisty-bendy shapes, including one staggeringly flexible feet-behind-the head yoga pose that hurts your groin just to look at it – that one then got recast in 18-carat gold. Subtle. Real subtle, Marc. 

© Woodlet/Flickr

Marc Quinn
Marc Quinn
© Marc Quinn

Now he’s heading into Sir John Soane’s Museum

Quinn is filling Sir John Soane’s Museum with casts of his partner’s body. Soane was a collector of sculptural fragments, and Quinn’s new work – chunks of arms, legs and torsos – will sit among the other exhibits. This might be Quinn at his quietest, but maybe it’s when he’s whispering that his art speaks the loudest. 

© Marc Quinn Studio

Marc Quinn: Drawn from Life’ is at Sir John Soane’s Museum until Sep 23 2017.

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Courtesy The Whitworth, University of Manchester © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, licensed by DACS

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