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Quinn has said that “art is an engagement with the material world and its continuous transformative energy as well as the immaterial world of emotions and ideas...”. These early works explore the transformative potential of material and the notion that, for meaning, material is as important as form. The sculptures all use the artist's own body as a model: both as a particular individual and a generic human form. In You Take my Breath Away (1992) and No Visible Means of Escape (1996) latex or rubber casts of the artist's body are suspended limply from the ceiling – a relic or shroud-like object echoing the physical presence that once inhabited it. In Template for my Future Plastic Surgery Age 80 (1992) Quinn explores the impossibility of preserving the physical body. Both the Shit Head (1997/1998) sculptures and the Shit Paintings (1997/1998) are made using the artist's excrement. My Ever Changing Moods (1993) points to the extreme fragility of natural things, from body to flowers, and the continuous living flux that is natural life, relying on the harmony and equivalence between plants and the body and the textural contrasts between the two. In Planck Density the artist's body is represented as a crushed lead cast as if its interior space has imploded or deconstructed, revealing an empty skin or exterior layer. Since lead is poisonous, the implication is also that the body is shedding some kind of toxicity. The Morphology works are made in mirrored glass and explore the notion of a deformed and reformed body, which, unlike the lead works, suggests a freedom in configuring the body's image. Placed on the floor, their shiny surface reflects the environment in which they are placed, camouflaging their presence. Quinn has described these works as “sculptures of moods and motivations...sculptures of the unconscious and the fragile”.

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