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Indepth Arts News:

"Marc Quinn: Flesh"
2005-07-01 until 0000-00-00
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Dublin, , IE

The first solo exhibition in Ireland by British artist Marc Quinn, best known for his strikingly original sculptures based on the human body, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Thursday 1 July 2004.  Marc Quinn: Flesh presents 14 new sculptures cast, in this instance, from the meat of various animals. Despite this new medium, Quinn's recurring themes - of life and death, heroism and suffering and man's physical and psychological boundaries - persist to powerful effect. Quinn's original and affecting treatment of these universal concerns and his unfailing resourcefulness in his means of expressing them have made him one of the most important of that generation of artists who acquired celebrity status in the 1980s and '90s as yBas (young British artists).

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the British Council.

Moulded from cuts of meat and cast in bronze with black patina, the works in Flesh are formally displayed on white plinths to heighten their relationship to art historical figurative sculpture, another defining feature of Quinn's work. Titles such as Reclining Figure (Venison), 2004, Torso (Lamb), 2003, and Standing Figure (Beef), 2004, all evoke classical and modern sculpture. The poses are also familiar, from the compactness of the Pietà-like scene in Mother and Child (Rabbit and Lamb), 2004, to Torso (Stag), 2004, with its clear echoes of the stretched torso of a Rodin centauress.

The works also have a remarkable sense of life, well beyond their animal origins. In the words of art critic Darian Leader, "they appeal and call out to us. This meat really has become us ... They create the sense of a human body more powerfully than any direct representation of the human body. " The curator of the exhibition, Rachael Thomas, Acting Head of Exhibitions at IMMA, describes Quinn's art "as one that exalts nature and expresses humanistic themes. The exhibition explores the boundaries and bridges between life and death, our beginning and our mortal end."

Flesh is the latest chapter in an extraordinary inventive catalogue of work, which first came to prominence in the late 1980s with Quinn's figures of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, modeled in dough, baked in an oven and then cast in bronze. In 1991, Self, a cast of his head in nine pints of his own frozen blood, became a modern icon. His 1995 series of lead sculptures entitled, Emotional Detox: The Seven Deadly Sins, was once again based on his own body, revealing a preoccupation with heightened states of bodily expression. The glass Morphology, 1996, series and his later Nervous Breakdown, 1997, sculptures both reinforced his continuing interest in transgressive states of the bodily form. In 1999 Quinn began a series of sculptural portraits of amputees in white Italian marble, creating an extraordinarily celebratory and dignified body of work. One of these works, Alison Lapper Pregnant, has recently been chosen to occupy the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London.

Born in 1964, Marc Quinn graduated from Cambridge University in 1985 and then became an assistant to sculptor Barry Flanagan, now a resident of Dublin. He first showed with Jay Jopling in 1988 and since then has exhibited extensively in Britain and internationally, with solo exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, London (1995); the Kunstverein Hanover, Germany (1999); the Funadazione Prada, Milan (2000); Tate Liverpool (2003) and the Venice Biennale (2003).

A publication, with a foreword by Enrique Juncosa, Director, IMMA, and essays by Susie Orbach, writer, Darian Leader, critic, and Rachael Thomas, Acting Head of Exhibitions, IMMA, accompanies the exhibition.

Marc Quinn
Standing Figure (Rabbit)
bronze and black patina
33.5 x 16.5 x 14.5 cm
Courtesy Jay Jopling/White Cube, London

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