Self (2006) by Marc Quinn

This work is a life-size cast of the artist's head made from eight pints of his own blood.


Artist's blood, liquid silicone, stainless steel, glass, Perspex, refrigeration equipment
205 x 65 x 65 cm
Art Fund grant:
£100,000 ( Total: £300,000)
Acquired in:
White Cube

The first version of Self from 1991 was a defining work for Quinn, launching his career and becoming an iconic image of the Brit Art movement. Subsequent versions, including Self (2006), made in middle age, document the artist's physical transformation, and reinforce the artist's fascination with the mutability of the body. Reliant on an in-built refrigeration support system, Self will live on after Quinn's death. Both a contemporary life mask and a self-portrait made from the blood of life, this work raises many questions about identity and the nature of portraiture. The sculpture, including the plinth, is of human proportions and Quinn uses a highly polished stainless steel base that reflects the viewer in the piece so that it can be regarded as both a self-portrait and a portrait of everyman.



Venue details

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, LONDON London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055

Entry details

50% off with National Art Pass

Sat – Wed, 10am – 6pm Thu – Fri, 10am – 9pm Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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