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Artwork Details:

  • TypeSculpture
  • Year2011
  • MediumPainted bronze
  • Dimensions393h x 436w x 216d cm
More about this artwork:

Marc Quinn's monumental Burning Desire is based upon a naturalistic Phalaenopsis, a genus of the orchid family, which has been modelled in exquisite detail. The fine red petals, each distinguished by unique venation, defy the properties of the bronze medium in which they are cast, appearing almost weightless and ethereal. Every element of the sculpture aspires to the perfection of reality, the accurate rendition of natural beauty. The present work belongs to a series of sculptures and paintings through which Quinn explores the concept of ideal beauty. Familiar though exotic, this flower has been rendered uncanny by its enlargement into sculpted form. On an immense scale the delicate petals take on an ominous presence, resembling the wings of the Phalaena moth from which the flower takes its name; the lower part, in turn, assumes the appearance of pincer-like mandibles on the threshold of inertia – poised to snap shut, pierce and penetrate. The title of the work, Burning Desire , also hints at the sculpture's latent sexual connotations; the heart of the flower's anatomy is its reproductive organ, which lures insects for pollination. So, in turn, does this part suggest the human female sex – both desired and feared – and invite comparison with the voluptuous paintings of Georgia O'Keefe.

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