In Asleep by the Light of Glow-worms 2005, Quinn samples a work by the German artist Caspar David Friedrich titled Sea of Ice 1823–5. The image, an imagined real event, sees the ‘wreck’ as a Romantic symbol, but a secondary symbol. This is incidental to the over-wrought and fractured landscape into which Quinn places the cinematic version of HG Wells’ novel The Time Machine. This time machine is occupied by the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921–86). Beuys was most famous for his public performances and championing a universal sense of human creativity. His face is covered in honey and gold leaf, an iron slab attached to his boot. Quinn, in his inimitable fashion plays with the codified meanings of everyday objects ‘made strange’ and the symbols of both a Romantic and post-modern European culture to bathetic effect.
Ged Quinn was Artist in Residence at Tate St Ives, 2003-4