Marc Quinn: The Toxic Sublime
15 July – 13 September 2015
A culmination of the artist's two-year investigation into natural phenomena and our complex relationship with the environment.
The show takes it name from a series of three-dimensional seascapes that explore the degradation of the ocean. Quinn begins with a photograph which he sands, tapes to a canvas, and spray-paints using templates shaped to represent flotsam gathered from the beach.
Once this process is complete, he takes to the London streets and presses impressions of drain covers into the surface of the work. Finally he bonds it to a sheet of aluminium and pummels the metal to contort. Brimming with symbolism, the resulting piece appears as if a remnant from a natural disaster.
Quinn also presents a new series of sculptures, Frozen Waves, which were inspired by the dissolution of shells by the sea. In the moment before they disappear and become sand, all conch shells take the form of a wave-like arc. Copied and extracted on different scales and then cast in stainless steel or concrete, the sculptures appear as both the shell and the sea that destroyed it.
The Broken Sublime series comprises two stainless steel sculptures modelled on real shells that had broken into by people who wanted to extract the flesh within. They provide a powerful visual reminder that our relationship with nature is shaped by our basic human urges.