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Old 04-14-2008, 06:37 AM
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Cantab Cantab is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Cambridge, England
Posts: 440
Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

In this and other threads we have been interested in the extent to which Quinn carries out his own work. And I have expressed reservations about his use of mass production Italian carving studios to complete work like the Alison Lapper piece. I also felt that some of this work looked computer-generated, that is, lacking all style and character.

‘The Observer’ newspaper in the UK has just offered a short book on art, in which Quinn refers to these issues, as follows:

He refers initially to his motivations in his work, and to “making meditative objects about eternal things…which are specific to now.” I like that. He also refers to his love of Greek and Roman art, and Michelangelo, all of which I like too – sounds like a man who wants to do something related to the tradition. I like that too.

He then goes on to refer to a sculpture he is working on, as follows: “It was scanned from a little sculpture and then cut by computer into a block of polystyrene which was then cast in bronze……. How much of a work I actually produce depends on the artwork. Sometimes it 100%, sometimes nothing. Artists have always worked that way…..…Ultimately whatever it takes to get it done is what matters”.

I think we can see what Quinn is up to by this last statement. Getting the work done as efficiently as possible is actually not the statement of a sculptor who really works in stone, loves the medium or has a love of the possibilities of carving. Michelangelo, who has influenced recent Quinn work, it seems, was not only interested in the outcome, but the PROCESS. His work is full of process, even in the final pieces. As I’ve mentioned earlier in the thread, all that fascinating claw chisel work that remains in the final object is part of the character of a Michelangelo, and of the artist’s love of the process. This is not the work of an artist who thinks ‘getting done’ is what counts. The other Quinn statement here – “Artists have always worked this way”. Well, artists have always had assistants, had studios reproduce work, and so on. But I know for a fact that Michelangelo never produced a single work that was entirely made by his assistants. And of course, that would be difficult anyway. Unlike Quinn’s computer generated images, and his final pieces, Michelangelo’s work is full of the character of the MAN, the CARVER, the WORK in the studio. In the end, Quinn may be able to justify his techniques by reference to what we CAN do with modern technology, but until he gets down to producing an actual carved style, he will just be, for me, Machine Man producing machine art. Now, I liked it when Bauhaus got into all that machine stuff, but unlike Bauhaus, Quinn’s using technology to cut corners, and to evade the issue of a hard-earned style. That’s why Quinn’s references to the inspiration of Michelangelo rings false – I feel nauseated by the sheer lack of the human element in the finish of his work. It could be make of plastic or resin. There is no love of stone here, and no love of what has to be earned the hard way.

Last edited by Cantab : 04-14-2008 at 07:06 AM.
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