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marc quinn interview
marc quinn in his studio
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Beauty with a darker side at Londonís White Cube.

Marc Quinnís studio is filled with white light. Spotlights and a large skylight reflect off the white sculptural bodies on white plinths that fill the white-walled room. Yet this seemingly perfect space is not sterile, itís a blank slate in three dimensions.

In the days before his new exhibition at the White Cube, the studio is filled with Quinnís latest works. His new series is simply beautiful. Otherworldly, his figuresí floating cream bodies seem to wrestle with an invisible force as they lie on plinths, half caught between peaceful sleep and zero gravity.


Marc Quinn in his studio

The artistís perfect sculpted forms look like Renaissance visions of marble perfection. But what at first appears to be marble is in fact a special kind of wax, mixed with the powdered medicines that keep the people depicted alive. A woman with HIV is sculpted in wax mixed with the suppressive medicines she takes to avoid AIDS, an athleteís muscular body with the medicine he takes for his recent heart transplant. Perfection has its darker side.

The matt wax sits well with Quinnís best known frozen sculptures made from his own blood. Wax is the closest you get to human skin in transparency and fluidity. Wax also teeters on the edge of impermanence. It is a living substance that can melt and change or disintegrate. A bit like life.


Pieces in Marc Quinn's studio

Quinnís latest series is also a natural progression from the marble icons of disabled people, including the sculpture of an armless mother and child that goes up in Trafalgar Square in September. Quinn forces you to address your prejudices. What is perfection? What is beauty? How do you feel about disability or illness? Itís impossible to passively view humanity in the same way afterwards.


Francesca Gavin 04 March 05
Marc Quinn - Chemical Life Support is at the White Cube, London, until 09 April 05.
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