Marc Quinn’s myriad of works display an obsession with vulnerability of biological self, and the juxtaposing couplets that are often thrown into sharp relief, such as the spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual. Implementing a range of unusual and interesting materials, such as ice and blood, glass, marble, and lead, Quinn explores these paradoxical dualisms into conceptually exploratory works.
His most famous work, Self, uses over 4.5 litres of his own blood, which was then broken - using a mould - into the exact shape of his face. The blood is taken over a period of five months, and Quinn has been making a 'blood head cast' ever five years since 1991. Due to the medium used, exhibiting these works requires careful thought: the frozen head sculpture must be placed into a glass case chilled from below. Self reminds the audience of the fragility of existence and the precise conditions necessary for the flourishing of life.