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

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.



National Portrait Gallery

St Martin's Place, London, Greater London, WC2H 0HE
020 7306 0055

Opening times

Sat- Thu: 10am – 6pm Fri: 10am – 9pm Closed 24 – 26 Dec

Exhibitions at National Portrait Gallery

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