London is a portfolio of eleven prints made by eleven artists based in London. It was commissioned by Charles Booth-Clibborn and published under his imprint, The Paragon Press, London. The images were printed and editioned at Coriander Studio, London. The portfolio was produced in an edition of sixty-five, the first forty of which are portfolio sets and the remainder are the artists' copies. A further fifteen sets were produced for artists and collaborators. Tate's copy is number five in the edition. The title and colophon pages were designed by Phil Baines using his own typeface. The portfolio is contained in a black buckram-covered wooden case bearing the title in yellow. London is the second group portfolio published by The Paragon Press since its inception in 1986. It was conceived as a portable group exhibition containing work by emerging artists of the same generation. There is no particular common theme. Factors linking some of them are studying art at Goldsmiths College, London in the late 80s (where they were taught by Conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, born 1941), working with Jay Jopling (who later opened White Cube Gallery in London) and being exhibited at the Saatchi and Karsten Schubert Galleries in London. Booth-Clibborn had already collected work by a number of the participating artists, few of whom had done any printmaking before embarking on the project. Most chose to work with screenprinting, with the exception of Langlands and Bell, whose image is embossed. Screenprinting is ideally suited to reproducing appropriated and photographic images. Its adoption reflects a characteristic use by young British artists (the group to which most of the London artists belong) of objects or images appropriated from everyday life. Individual prints vary in size, the type of paper used and the orientation of the image.
Quinn's image, Template for my Future Plastic Surgery, is a four-colour screenprint in portrait orientation on 300gsm Somerset Satin paper coated with glossy varnish. It was made from a black and white photograph of the artist onto which he collaged photographs of casts of other people's body parts and an object. The cast items are an ear belonging to a violinist, which is stuck over Quinn's right ear; the nose of an impresario, stuck over Quinn's nose; the tongue of a chef, stuck over Quinn's open mouth and the hand of his then-girlfriend, decorated with painted spots and placed over Quinn's heart. A photograph of a piece of coral, resembling brain tissue, has been laid on his forehead. The photographer was Dan Leppard. Quinn made a related sculpture, Template for My Future Plastic Surgery Aged 80, in the same year. It consists of a stand of transparent acrylic into which two black and white photographs of his body are laid and onto which plaster cast elements of his body are attached. Quinn's work in the early to mid 1990s was typically sculpture derived from casts of his own body. The most famous of this was his portrait Self 1991 (Saatchi Collection, London), a cast of his head made of his own blood, displayed in a special refrigeration unit. No Visible Means of Escape IV 1996 (Tate T07238) and The Etymology of Morphology 1996 (Tate T07239) are further sculptures generated from casts of Quinn's body, the former in rubber, the latter in glass. Much of Quinn's work uses the physical to express emotional transformation. In 1995 he produced a portfolio of etchings related to sculptures, also published by Charles Booth-Clibborn, titled Emotional Detoxification 1995. The seven lead sculptures of the same title were exhibited at the Tate Gallery in the Art Now Series in July 1995.
Patrick Elliott, Jeremy Lewison, Contemporary Art in Print: The Publications of Charles Booth-Clibborn and his Imprint, The Paragon Press 1995-2000, London 2000, pp.24-35, 286-301, 305 and 332
Contemporary British Art in Print: The Publications of Charles Booth-Clibborn and his Imprint The Paragon Press 1986-95, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh 1995, pp.19 and 46-51, reproduced (colour) p.51
Marc Quinn: Incarnate, exhibition catalogue, Gagosian Gallery New York 1998, reproduced (colour) p.42, pl.14