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Artwork Details:

  • TypeSculpture
  • Year2009
  • MediumPainted bronze
  • Dimensions250h x 286w x 128d cm
More about this artwork:

Marc Quinn’s monumental Archaelogy of Desire is based upon a naturalistic Phalaenopsis, a genus of the orchid family, which has been rendered in exquisite detail. The fine, papery petals, each distinguished by unique venation, defy the properties of the bronze medium in which they are cast to appear 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 has explored the concept of ideal beauty achieved, especially, through genetic modification. These include his seminal work Garden - an installation of flowers in full bloom preserved in silicone. Familiar though exotic, this sculpture has been rendered uncanny by it’s 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 Archaeology of desire, also hints at the sculpture’s latent sexual connotations; the heart of the flower’s anatomy is it’s 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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