Marc Quinn: The Littoral Zone
What: Marc Quinn: The Littoral Zone
Where: Oceanographic Museum, Monaco
When: Saturday 12 May to Monday 15 October 2012
Open: Daily 9.30am to 7pm (7.30 pm in July and August)*
Admission: €14 (€10, €7)
Information: +377 93 15 36 00
Following the enormous success of Damien Hirst
's exhibition 'Cornucopia' at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2010, another controversial Young British Artist has picked up the baton, again seeking to unite art and nature in a building which is fast becoming one of the major focal points not just for marine biologists but also lovers of contemporary art.
, who was born in London in 1964, is no stranger to lurid headlines in the tabloid press, especially since his 1991 piece Self, described in catalogues as made using 'stainless steel, perspex, refrigeration equipment, and blood'. His own blood, in fact, 4.5 litres of which he sculpted into a likeness of his own head. Today, there are several 'Selfs' in existence, since he repeats the exercise every five years. Remarkably, this gory but undeniably fascinating bust has fetched a great deal of interest - and money - in the international art market, with the original selling for £1.5 million to an American collector in 2005.
Although this may sound like something from a gothic horror story, what propels Quinn's vision is something far more scientific. Other objects have included a 'portrait' made from the DNA of human genome pioneer Sir John Sulston, and 'Garden', a collection of plants which could not survive in the same habitat in nature, yet are happy to do so when cryogenically frozen and placed in an artwork.
The Origin of the World (Cassis madagascariensis) Indian Ocean, 310
Quinn piqued interest in a more public way with his monumental marble statue for the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Statues in London typically celebrate the glorious deeds of male military leaders. This one sought to raise awareness of other members of society: it was of a pregnant woman, Alison Lapper, who was born with no arms and shortened legs. Throughout his work, the fascination with what makes is human is supremely evident. Recent projects include a new series of flower paintings executed
in reverse colour and two large-scale orchid sculptures in white
About the venue
Built literally into the side of the legendary Rock of Monaco, the Oceanographic Museum has been guarding the ocean for over a century. It was designed as a palace dedicated to the sea, and a place to display the results of the oceanographic surveys carried out by its founder. These days, the museum is more a point of cultural exchange and discussion, with the common heritage of mankind at its heart.
For Quinn's exhibition, sixty pieces will be on display throughout the halls of the museum, as well as in the front courtyard and on the panoramic terrace. Sculptures and paintings will gain particular emphasis from their juxtaposition with scientific displays, and of course visitors buying a ticket for the aquarium will have free access to the exhibition. In this way, the artist will be helping to fulfil the vision of HSH Prince Albert I,
who had the museum constructed in the first place to 'gather together in
one place the two driving forces of civilization: art and science'.
*exhibition open daily except on the day of the Monaco Grand Prix