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Marc Quinn at White Cube: The Toxic Sublime

  • White Cube London
  • White Cube London
  • White Cube London
June 30, 2015
Passionate about art, frequent visitor of exhibitions, Widewalls photography specialist.

For Marc Quinn, it’s always been about art and science, the materiality of things, the physical and the philosophical, the relationship between the man and himself, the man and nature. In his latest body of works in painting and sculpture, the artist concludes his two-year investigation into the ways we interact with our environment, and the complex, inevitable changes happening within our world. In an extensive and dedicated process of making these artworks, Marc Quinn reflects on the impact that man has on the world that nurtures him, yet how small he is compared to this everlasting force.

White Cube London
Marc Quinn – Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Culture), 2015. Stainless steel, 12 5/8 x 37 13/16 x 10 1/4 in. (32 x 96 x 26 cm)

The Toxic Sublime

The creation of The Toxic Sublime, a series of seascapes flailing between two and three dimensions in space, can be described as a true art performance involving a number of mediums and techniques. It all starts with a simple photograph of a sunrise, placed on a canvas. What follows is an aggressive intervention, in which Marc Quinn sands and tapes the image, which is then spray-painted through flotsam and jetsam gathered from the beach. But it doesn’t end there. The artwork is then taken out onto the streets of London, where its surface absorbs the impression of drain covers. Subsequently, the canvas gets attached to a sheet of aluminum, only to get distorted and deformed into its final sculptural shape. While all the pieces start with the same sunrise photograph, the final “products” differ from one another greatly, almost completely drained from their original condition. In a unique way, Marc Quinn points out the hypocritical state of natural powers like water, so free and boundless in the ocean, and so tamed and controlled in the conduits beneath our streets.

White Cube London
Left: Marc Quinn – The Toxic Sublime – 5$*5,)’^6$3Y]7w, 2015. Spray paint, aeronautical grade aluminium tape and acrylic on canvas, bonded to torqued aluminium, 85 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 7 1/16 in. (217 x 150 x 18 cm) / Right: Marc Quinn – The Toxic Sublime – O8@=du5JP:nf&Zx, 2015. Spray paint, aeronautical grade aluminium tape and acrylic on canvas, bonded to torqued aluminium, 84 5/8 x 59 1/16 x 8 1/4 in. (215 x 150 x 21 cm)

Frozen Waves

Accompanying the paintings will be a series of stainless steel and white concrete sculptures under the name of Frozen Waves. These minimalist, large-scale pieces evoke the forms of shells, either eroded by the waves or broken into by people for the flesh within them. Citing the infinite process in which time changes the face of nature and its elements, but also the human selfishness, Marc Quinn’s works become the immortal evidence of these events, documenting the transition from movement to solid form that will keep on happening long after the human race lives and dies. Using the latest three-dimensional technology, the artist makes simple yet complex shapes, breathtakingly beautiful in all its decay.

White Cube London
Marc Quinn – Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Culture), 2015. Stainless steel, 12 5/8 x 37 13/16 x 10 1/4 in. (32 x 96 x 26 cm)

Marc Quinn at White Cube Gallery

Marc Quinn is a British artist born in London in 1964. He is perhaps best known for his 1991 sculpture titled Self, representing a cast of the artist’s head made from eight pints of his own frozen blood. Made using an impressive array of materials, his artworks are in constant search of an explanation and expression of different aspects of human life, through science, art and personal impressions.

The Toxic Sublime, an exhibition of new works by Marc Quinn, will be on view at White Cube Gallery in London, UK, from July 15th until September 13th, 2015.

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Featured images in slider: Marc Quinn – Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Ultra Gravity), 2015. Stainless steel, 24 7/16 x 78 3/4 x 19 11/16 in. (62 x 200 x 50 cm) Marc Quinn – Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Linear Momentum), 2015. Stainless steel, 16 15/16 x 39 3/8 x 16 7/8 in. (43 x 100 x 42.8 cm) Marc Quinn – Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Culture), 2015. Stainless steel, 12 5/8 x 37 13/16 x 10 1/4 in. (32 x 96 x 26 cm) For all images: Photographer: Marc Quinn Studio, Courtesy White Cube