Quinn’s orchid prints explore two persisting leitmotifs of his work – beauty and death. They investigate beauty as it manifests itself in the natural world through flowers, and how it is mediated through human intervention. For his flower pieces Quinn makes various installations selecting a wide range of species from different continents that would never bloom at the same time. The installations are photographed and subsequently digitally reworked by the artist before printing. Quinn captures these species in their prime, rescuing them as it were from natural decay. He intentionally accentuates the voluptuous nature of the plants and flowers. ‘Orchids are like perfectly evolved little sculptures in themselves, they’re full of colour, interesting shapes and beauty. Even though they are a plant’s reproductive organs, they pun on human ones too. They make you realise it is colour, life and sexuality that keeps the world turning‘.
Marc Quinn (born in London in 1964) studied history of art at Robinson College, Cambridge, subsequently working extensively in sculpture, paintings and drawings using media ranging from dramatic materials such as ice, blood and even excreta, to the more conventional glass, marble and lead. His marble figures of amputees, a meditation on the idealized figures of Greek and Roman statuary, culminated in a giant statue of a heavily pregnant Alison Lapper, a woman born without arms, on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. ‘Self’, a sculpture of the artist’s head created from the frozen blood of the artist himself is equally uncompromising.