Last friday, I actually had no intention of visiting an exhibition until I saw Mr. Quinn’s giant golden seashell at the entrance of ARTER Gallery. The first solo exhibition of Marc Quinn in Turkey is now on display here until 27th April. The exhibition is curated by Selen Ansen and was given the name “Sleep of Reason” with inspiration from Francisco Goya’s 1799 etching named “Sleep of reason creates monsters”.
As a general comment I can say the exhibition was absolutely impressive. With his works Mr. Quinn was presenting a great mixture of meaning and material variety. He adapts modern technologies to his art such as the 3D scanning technique or the freezing blood for sculptures and points on things that as a society, we often pretend not to recognise: disabilities, trans-genders and politic unrests leading to the biggest human tragedies. Often you could feel that Quinn was silently protesting these globally known politics traumas and prejudices that harmed many societies’ both political and social lives in recent history. Another line of issues the artist was referring was the interaction between creation of human and history, nature, culture and human body.
Actually the exhibition was settled up on the idea of a “threshold”. A threshold seems like a separation of two different mediums: outside and inside. But also a tangible point of a change occurring and the only common ground of two separate ends. In this context the works reflect the phases of change in various subjects for example Matter into Light series, implying the energy is never lost in the universe it transforms into some other type of matter or the Before and After Humans series where the water, sky and clouds come in order with an ambience of transformation. Also most of the works contain two polars existing in the some body.
Marc Quinn, The Origin of the World (Cassis Madagascariensis) Atlantic Ocean 310, 2012
The giant sea shell at the entrance of the gallery was made of bronze and created with using 3D scanning of a shell, representing the a dualism, more of an adaptation, of the shell since it’s interior and exterior is totally different to adapt to ocean environment. I found a similarity with this as humans we sometimes change how we are seen from outside to adapt our social environment.
Marc Quinn, Chelsea Charms, 2011
This is the modified sculpture of an American model, Chelsea Charms who had a couple of breast surgeries. The reason she changes her appearance is the society’s notions of beauty and being sexy. with emphasising the breasts in the sculpture and keeping all the other parts natural, like the ancient Greek sculptures, I guess Quinn wants show how society’s unrealistic views of beauty can affect so many people like Chelsea, to lose their confidence and go for the option of changing their appearance at the cost of so much money and pain.
Along with the sculptures that are partly inspired by Ancient Greece there are Selma Mustajbasic (2000), Peter Hull (1999), Tom Yendell (2000), Alexandra Westmoquette (2000) and Stuart Penn (2000) where all are representations of real people with disabilities.
Marc Quinn, Self, 2011
Self, the most exciting one is a continuous self-portrait project, where the artist gives his own blood, and freezes it inside of a cast, shaped as his own head. He is doing this in every 5 years since 1991. I guess this work of him can be considered as an exploration of self, questioning reasons that make him want to wake up every morning, where blood here represents these reasons as a liquid that physically keeps you alive.
Marc Quinn, Zombie Boy (Rick) 2011
Zombie Boy (Rick) detail
Marc Quinn, Where the Worlds Meet the Mind, 2012
Marc Quinn, The Creation of History series, 2014
In The Creation of History series and many other works in the exhibition you can observe strong references to recent world politics, particularly countries with turbulent political lives. The series is composed of 6 tapestries which were laid on the floor where viewers were allowed to step on them. This was so strange to me as I hesitated to step on even the security guard told me that we’re allowed to. Tapestries were involving photos from recent riots in Brazil, Greece, Egypt, India and UK, which were implying that only the demand from a country’s own citizens could change a nations path. PS. I really expected to see some shots from the Gezi Park protest.
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Exhibition’s web page