Leslie Sacks Contemporary is pleased to announce an exhibition of Marc Quinn’s 2007 suite Portraits of Landscapes. The series features eight color pigment prints, each measuring 39 3/8 x 29 1/2 inches from an edition of 59. The imagery is a highly rendered grouping of fruit and flowers in full bloom, which relates to recurring motifs in Quinn’s work.
The Portraits of Landscapes series references Quinn’s momentous 2000 installation Garden as well as his ensuing Eternal Spring sculptures and flower paintings. Garden, originally installed at the Fondazione Prada, Milan, featured cryogenically frozen plants captured at the peak of their beauty and suspended in their lifecycle. Quinn has stated that he was inspired to create the piece when visiting a flower market, where all types of foliage from around the world can be purchased in a single place. Flowers that would never exist in the same climate or blossom at the same time of year now sit alongside one another; they are a symbol of how “human desire constantly reshapes nature’s limitations” and offer the perfect metaphor for Quinn’s exploration of the natural versus the artificial.
For the print series Portraits of Landscapes, Quinn has re-appropriated imagery from his flower paintings and presented the visuals in a new format. By switching media from painting (large horizontal “landscapes”) to a blown-up portion of a painting (small vertical “portraits”), he plays even further with the ideas of preservation and manipulation. In the work’s new incarnation, Quinn examines in greater detail the exotic, tactile shapes of tropical plants and gleaming, fleshy surfaces of ripe fruit. Swaths of bright, saturated colors—symbols of youth—and the erotic interplay of forms take center stage, pulling the viewer up-close into a rich and lusty garden of paradise.
In many of the pieces, delicate drops of snow can be seen lightly sprinkled over the fruit and flowers. This detail is a nod to the cryogenically frozen Garden installation. The work remarks on the transience of life and speaks to Quinn’s fascination with the inherent human desire to halt time. Contemporary culture’s obsession with preserving youth and beauty, often through unnatural means, contains a certain perverseness that is of interest to the artist. Quinn’s flowers are immortalized at the moment of full bloom, and are seemingly full of warmth and exotic sensuality. Yet the vibrant colors and voluptuous forms are deceptive; they mask the fact that the flowers are frozen and no longer living—are dead, but can’t decay.
Marc Quinn is part of the Young British Artists (YBAs) movement. The group, which includes fellow artists Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin, gained notoriety in the 1990s for creating work with tremendous shock value. Quinn’s work Self was shown as part of “Sensation,” a 1997 exhibition curated by the influential collector Charles Saatchi. Self, an ongoing self-portrait of the artist made from his own frozen blood, elicited worldwide attention. Quinn has continued to explore themes about aging, the passage of time and ideals of beauty throughout his career.
Marc Quinn has exhibited in numerous significant international exhibitions, including at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. He has had solo shows at Tate Gallery, London and Tate, Liverpool; Kunstverein, Hannover; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Groninger Museum, Groningen; MACRO, Rome; DHC/ART Fondation pour l’art contemporain, Montréal; and Fondation Beyeler, Basel. His work is included in the Tate’s permanent collection.