For the first time all of Marc Quinn's ‘blood head’ self-portraits will be exhibited together. Each portrait is a documentation of the artist’s head, as it ages every five years, and so represents a portrait of the artist over a fifteen-year period.
The series addresses the meaning of life, its transitoriness, but also the yearning for an eternal afterlife. The sculptures are casts made from the artist’s head, comprising about five litres of his own blood kept in a solid state by remaining frozen at -18°C.
As a self-portrait, ‘Self’ is the most direct form of artistic statement, as Quinn points out, "it depends on my life to be created – it’s made from the substance of me; and so I think of it as the purest form of sculpture to sculpt your own body, from your own body."
A key aspect of ‘Self’ is its dependence on external circumstances, in this case an uninterrupted supply of electricity, without which the head would dissolve. In this sense, the piece becomes a symbol of the dependence of human beings in general. The artist treats this interchange between control and loss of control again and again in other works as well.
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