Marc Quinn: Reality Show
Marc Quinn’s latest series of sculpture-portraits, ‘Allanah, Buck, Catman, Chelsea, Michael, Pamela and Thomas’, opens a provocative new chapter in the artist’s already extensive exploration of the relationship between corporeality and spirituality. Intent on debunking the conceit that one’s physical appearance necessarily represents an accurate or even appropriate incarnation of one’s psyche, Quinn has continually sought out subjects who exemplify an obvious disconnect between body and inner being. For example, ‘The Complete Marbles’ (1999–2001) comprises gorgeous, life-size sculptures depicting men and women with limbs that are missing or truncated due to birth defect, accident or necessary medical amputation. In this series, Quinn highlights the fact that, although physical deformities are not a symptom of intellectual weakness, we often view and treat the handicapped as if they are mentally challenged. Exploring the reverse scenario in ‘Chemical Life Support’ (2005), the artist presents men and women whose bodies appear perfectly healthy, but who are actually dependent on a variety of drugs to keep them alive. Through both of these series, Quinn illustrates that a superficial examination of a person’s body often belies a genuine understanding of their true identity.