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MARC QUINN | ‘Frozen Sunflowers (Eternal Spring)’
September 20th 2023
A large vivarium containing a garden of Eden, Marc Quinn aspires to defeat mortality by preserving the beauty of the natural world in a subzero setting. In his artistic practice Quinn continues to explore the self, nature and the inevitable passage from life to death, while using focal periods of art history as the envoi: most notably, a series of classical busts of his head made from his own plasma; and a revival of the Dutch seventeenth-century flower painting in cryogenic conditions. The artist became a trailblazer amongst the YBA’s in the nineties and quickly earning a spot at the legendary exhibition, ‘Sensation’, at the Royal Academy of Arts in ‘97. Frozen Sunflowers is a photographic edition from the sculptural series ‘Eternal Spring’, forming an overture to one of his most significant works, ‘Garden’.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
To understand the work of Quinn is to understand art history. Similarly, as the Romans found inspiration in the Greek statues of the classical antiquity, Michelangelo rediscovered the marbles of Roman times and perfected it in his colossal statue, ‘David’ (1504), at the height of the Italian Renaissance; an influence leading to neo-classical interpretations, and later finding their way into impressionist sculptures, such as August Rodin’s masterpieces, ‘The Thinker’ and ‘The Kiss’, in the 1880’s. Holding up a mirror to a present-day audience, while referencing the past, is what links the most interesting artists.

Quinn’s letter of acceptance in the early eighties to study history at University of Cambridge was the beginning of a journey that would infatuate his practice. Sculpture would be his chosen medium and to an artist with art history as a major, Cambridge was one of the few places to be. Here, he was surrounded by history in a town shaped by grandeur, and with unrestricted access to a library which had gathered knowledge since the Protestant Reformation in the mid-sixteenth century.

By the time Quinn had graduated from Cambridge University the art scene were about to change. Starting as a light breeze of sorts that were passed over by the establishment, a new order was slowly gathering strength within the English capital. The summer of ’88 marked a point of no return when a group of rebellious artists from Goldsmith College of Art in London took matters in their own hands and opened the doors to ‘Freeze’; a self-orchestrated graduate show at a warehouse in the East London Docklands. What came next would make a significant impact on the art scene in the nineties.
MARC QUINN
Marble (Set of 8), 2002

Edition of 45
103(w) x 136(h) cm
40.55(w) x 53.54(h) inches
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MARC QUINN
Marble (Set of 8), 2002

Edition of 45
103(w) x 136(h) cm
40.55(w) x 53.54(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
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Marc Quinn (British, b. 1964)
103(w) x 136(h) cm
40.55(w) x 53.54(h) inches
Series of 8 screenprint on somerset tub-sized paper.

Signed on verso, numbered on colophon sheet.
Edition of 45
PRICE
$ 20,690.00 Available from a private collection
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In London, Quinn found support from a young art dealer, Jay Jopling, who became a contributing factor to Quinn’s rise to fame. The artist’s breakthrough work, ‘Self’ (1991), was in short an artwork fit for the times in terms of public shock value, and a modern-day response to the classical bust. Resonant of a Roman senator around Anno Domini, ‘Self’ was a real-size bust of Quinn; a sculptural self-portrait not only of himself, but also - more daringly - made “from” himself. Extracting several pints of his own blood over the period of a year, the artist mixed the unusual medium with a liquid and freezing it in a mould. The work of art was a bold statement. Through his self-portrait Quinn showed the artworld that although he didn’t come with a Goldsmith pedigree, like most of his contemporaries at the time, he belonged as part of the new generation of great, young British artists.

‘Self’ became the pièce de résistance at his first major solo show ‘Out of Time’ at Grob Gallery; a gallery founded by David Grob, a rising star of the capital’s art scene. Alongside the frozen head, Quinn exhibited a series of bread-hands made from hand-shaped pieces of dough, using his hands as a template, and then baked the dough in various ways - to various degree of success. The bread-hands and ‘Self’ illustrates the artist’s early fascination with the exploration of the self; a conceptional theme running through many of his works, extending his own - or a subject’s - actuality into a portrait, whether it is via the use of physical matter, like blood or DNA, or represented by a painting of the iris or a fingerprint.

Up through the nineties, Quinn’s sculptures characterised a modern and expressionistic style. A genre he first explored as an undergraduate at Cambridge. New works, such as seven sculptures titled ‘Emotional Detox’, made of lead and cast from his own body, received much acclaim and in just ten years after his graduation, it landed him a solo show at the prestigious Tate Britain. An astonishing feat for a 31-year-old artist. However, by the end of the decade, Quinn moved visually closer to key parts of art history. One was the perfected white marbles statues of the classical past, earning him the commission of the 4th plinth on Trafalgar Square in 2005, and the other the Dutch seventeenth-century flower painting.
MARC QUINN
Frozen Sunflowers (Eternal Spring), 2000

Edition of 200
52(w) x 76(h) cm
20.67(w) x 30.12(h) inches
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Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
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Name *
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MARC QUINN
Frozen Sunflowers (Eternal Spring), 2000

Edition of 200
52(w) x 76(h) cm
20.67(w) x 30.12(h) inches
ENQUIRY
Art is about speaking to each other and by making an enquiry you can have direct conversation with us about artwork you find interesting.
Name *
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Any Comment? *
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Marc Quinn (British, b. 1964)
52(w) x 76(h) cm
20.67(w) x 30.12(h) inches
Ilfochrome on glossy photographic paper.

Signed, dated and numbered on verso.
Edition of 200
PRICE
$ 1,350.00 Available from a private collection
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
The trial, error and success of creating ‘Self’ - and keeping it stable at a below-zero temperature - had the artist wondering if the process of using frozen silicone could be used with a matter as delicate as flowers and petals. ‘Eternal Spring (Sunflower) I’ became the turning point and in ’98 the artist proudly exhibited a bouquet of sunflowers in an everyday glass vase, with colours appearing almost excessive and ready for eternity. Quinn had found a way to trade biological life in exchange for visual immortality.

Two years later, Quinn unveiled a masterpiece of his career with the simple title, ‘Garden’. Displayed at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, the artist allowed the visitors to walk through his new installation, a paradisial garden in all its abundance. Orchids, sunflowers, cacti and small trees. Flowers from all around the world displayed at their peak of bloom; each one potent and bright-coloured inside the gigantic aquarium-like tanks. Like the painters of the Dutch Golden Age, Quinn’s ‘Garden’ assembled the most beautiful flowers - many not in bloom at the same time in the real world - and showed the “bouquet” to an astonished audience. Yet, it was simply too perfect and the wonderful smell of fresh flowers was absent. Just as the frozen sunflowers in the vase, this was a glorified garden of remembrance, kept in a moment of beauty by the freezing liquid silicone.

In Frozen Sunflowers, Quinn found a way to eternal spring; emphasising that to grow old gracefully is preferential.

Supported early in his career by Jay Jobling, the founder of White Cube Gallery, London-born Marc Quinn quickly rose among the ranks of the YBA’s in the early nineties with prominent shows at Gagosian, Grob Gallery and art dealer Anthony D’Offay. In the ten years following his solo show at Tate Britain in ’95 - his work has been included at the controversial exhibition ‘Sensation’ at the Royal Academy of Arts in ’97; ‘Garden’ at Fondazione Prada in Milan in ’00; the 50th Venice Biennale in ’03; the sculpture of ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’ on the 4th plinth on Trafalgar Square in 2005; National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2015; and several others up until today. From his studio in London, Quinn continues to show his universal relevance through museum and solo exhibitions in all corners of the world, making him one of Britain’s most significant living artists today.

Inspired by ‘Eternal Spring’ (1998) and coinciding with the exhibition of ‘Garden’ in Milan, Frozen Sunflowers (Eternal Spring) was released as a photographic edition in 2000. The edition of 200 is printed as ilfochrome on glossy paper; signed, dated and numbered on verso. Four exclusive editions, Frozen Sunflowers (Eternal Spring), LIFE, Map of the Human Heart and Mutant, were created between 1999 and 2002 in a collaboration between Marc Quinn and Eyestorm.

To view the print edition in further detail and to find more information about available works by Marc Quinn, visit the artist’s page here.
 
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