Marc Quinn The Etymology of Morphology 1996

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Artwork details

Artist
Marc Quinn born 1964
Title
The Etymology of Morphology
Date 1996
Medium Glass
Dimensions Displayed: 270 x 1525 x 1520 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1997
Reference
T07239
Not on display

Summary

This work, which is designed to be displayed on the floor, is a multi-part floor sculpture in blown and cast glass. The glass is silvered on the inside and suggests a life-sized figure which has dissolved in or is being assembled from mercury-like puddles. A head, hand and penis remain recognisable among the otherwise biomorphic shapes. The body parts were cast from Quinn's body. The glass was blown in Murano, Italy, with Quinn controlling the process. The piece suggests transformation, but less radically than in some of the artist's earlier works such as Self (1991, Saatchi Collection, London), Quinn's self-portrait sculpture in his own blood.

In relation to this work, Quinn has referred to the idea of creating solid form from breath through the use of blown glass. The glass itself gives the impression of a liquid and solid presence simultaneously. This sculpture exhibits a multitude of reflective surfaces and is therefore difficult to see as a fixed entity. Quinn has commented on his fascination for mirrors, for example those at Versailles, and his curiosity about the events which they have witnessed and of which they have no memory.

Further reading:
Sarah Kent, Shark Infested Waters: The Saatchi Collection of British Art in the 90s, London 1994, pp.73-6

Terry Riggs
October 1997

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