Marc Quinn is one of the brightest and most controversial artists to come out of the Young British Artist’s movement. His mixture of unexpected subjects with weird science has intrigued collectors since his plunge into the art world in the late 1980s.
Early Life and Education
Marc Quinn was born in London in 1964. His father was a British scientist, his mother a French potter. Quinn attended the Millfield boarding school when his parents moved to France. He studied Art History and History at Robinson College in Cambridge before becoming an assistant to Welsh sculptor, Barry Flanagan, whose large bronze works had a great influence on Quinn.
Quinn has been called the posh Damien Hirst, possibly because of his upbringing in Englefield Green, a lovely town in Surrey, England, or possibly because his privileged education; Quinn was the only member of the Young British Artists who did not attend Goldsmiths College. He shared a flat in Waterloo with Hirst, his entree into the YBAs and one of the first of the group to be signed by English art dealer Jay Jopling.
Career and Family Life
Quinn received a great deal of public attention for his his project Self, a sculpture of his head made from 4.5 pints of his own frozen blood, and which must be kept at -0.4 degrees Fahrenheit, to prevent it from melting. Quinn saves his blood and recreates Self every five years. One version of Self was purchased by Britain’s National Portrait Gallery.
Quinn lives and works in Chalk Farm, North London, with his wife, Georgia Byng, author of the Molly Moon children’s books. The couple has one son, Lucas, and a daughter, Tiger, from Byng’s previous marriage. Lucas had an anaphylactic reaction to his first bottle of milk and had to be rushed to the hospital. Lucas had to be fed a special, powdered form of milk. Lucas’ need for a chemical formula to sustain his life, as well as others need for drugs and medication to sustain them, became Chemical Life Support. Each sculpture is cast from wax mixed with the chemical that sustains the individual.
His sculptures of Kate Moss, for which he is probably best known, are part of Quinn’s exploration of the cultural perception of beauty. He is also fascinated by flowers, especially orchids, and created a Garden in 2000, a room filled with flowers that don’t usually grow together, suspended in a silicone oil medium kept at -4 degrees Fahrenheit, in a cold room, with heated glass.
He has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including the Tate, London, the Fondazione Prada, the MACRO, Rome, the Fondation Beyeler, Basel, the Musée Océanographique, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini Arter, the Space for Art, Istanbul and his work can be found in the permanent collection of many others.