Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn, born 8th January 1964, is a contemporary visual artist. He is a member of the loose group known as the Young British Artists. He is better known for Alison Lapper Pregnant, sculpture of Alison Lapper which has been installed on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square, Self, a sculpture of his head made with his own frozen blood, and Garden (2000). He has used many unconventional sculpture materials, such as blood, ice and faeces. Quinn’s oeuvre displays a preoccupation with the mutability of the body and the dualisms that define human life-spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual.

Recommended for me to get ideas for masks, I have looked into his works and found his grotesque work Self which features a frozen blood block of his face.

Self is a self-portrait of the artist, but one that literally uses his body as material since the cast of Quinn’s head, immersed in frozen silicone, is created from ten pints of his own blood. In this way, the materiality of the sculpture has both a symbolic and real function. The work was made at a time when Quinn was an alcoholic and a notion of dependency – of things needing to be plugged in or connected to something to survive – is apparent since the work needs electricity to retain its frozen appearance. A further iteration made every five years, this series of sculptures presents a cumulative index of passing time and an ongoing self-portrait of the artist’s ageing and changing self.

The gore of this piece is quite inspiring but also quite uncomfortable to look at, which is exactly what I’m trying to accomplish. He has done this work every 5 years since 1991, which in way makes me consider more if it’s a body on edge performance, which makes it even stronger. Pictured below is his latest one from 2011.


Self. 2011.

If I end up going more gore and grotesque like I will definitely come back to his work and have another look, but for now I think I can only take from it the way in which it resembles a death mask, which in a way is what I end up thinking of whilst making my masks.



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