The self-portrait carved in his own blood (Self, 1991) by Marc Quinn is one of the most iconic works produced by the Young British Artists in the 90s, along with Tracey Emin’s blankets embroidered with the names of her own lovers, Damien Hirst’s cows in formaldehyde and the Chapman brothers’ hypersexual mannequins of young children.

Marc Quinn, born in London in 1964, is known for producing very strong, emotional artworks. In 2000, he left the Milan art crowd speechless by exhibiting an installation of flowers and plants kept alive by an invisible system of refrigeration built inside the Prada Foundation. But he didn’t stop there: Quinn then showed the world his busts of mutilated humans in majestically grandiose poses, continuing his ongoing exploration of the weak barriers that divide beauty from decadence, life from death.

Quinn is not afraid of judgment, instead he pushes the limit of his provocations. In his show at the Fondazione Cini, on Venice’s San Giorgio Maggiore Island (on display until September 29), he exhibits a huge inflatable 36-feet sculpture, so big that it is clear from Venice’s mainland. The statue, a re-edition of the controversial marble work Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005), had been previously presented during the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics and was installed in Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth for over a year.

This beautiful self-titled solo show, curated by Germano Celant, features fifty works in total—fifteen of which were previously unreleased, including supermodel Lara Stone’s portrait. Called The Way of all Flesh, (2013), the work portrays Stone naked and pregnant, posing like a classical Venus yet lying on a raw meat background. The exhibition, accompanied by a big catalogue entitled Marc Quinn Memory Box (ed. Skira), invites us all to reflect on the artistic path of one of the most provocative artists of all time. It’s a must…see for yourself!


Above: Marc Quinn – Breath 2012 © Marc Quinn Studio