Marc Quinn in Venice

“Breath”. Source:

While I was in Venice I had the chance to visit the Marc Quinn Exhibition on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore. It was a solo exhibition and there were sculptures as well as paintings by Quinn. I found the sculptures and their expressiveness fascinating. Also the way he “discusses” the way we perceive gender roles or people with some body defect (while visiting the exhibition I didn’t know the sculptures were of actual people, except one that I recognised). The sculptures also explore what beauty is in association with classical Greek and Roman sculpture, that idealise the human body in its perfection. The people represented in the sculptures stood with pride and dignity and having an amputated leg or arm didn’t make any difference. They really felt beautiful and very elegant. Knowing that many, maybe all of them, are of actual people is a little bit frightening, out of ones comfort zone. For example,  “Breath” made after “Alison Lapper Pregnant” represents the actual contemporary artist Alison Lapper, who was born without arms and with truncated legs. Knowing that these people are real makes it closer and more frightening. In daily life we don’t think about it, we automatically forget that there are people with different bodies and that we are not more human than them. The so called “disability” is something we normally hide, we don’t talk about it, we try not to see it. These sculptures make it unmistakeably visible and in some way become a monument. From this point of view Quinn’s works are very brave, controversial and a little bit scary.

“The Eye of history” and other artworks. Source:
"Evolution". Source:
“Evolution”. Source:

The installation “Evolution”, consisting of ten marble sculptures representing the development of the human embryo, was arranged specifically for the site, as thou life emerges out of the Venetian Laguna.

For more details and explanations look at the announcement by Fondazione Giorgio Cini / Giorgio Cini Foundation, where the exhibition took place, and at the official Marc Quinn Website.


Author: summer

I study Art History at the LMU Munich. I am interested in early Christian and Byzantine art and also in Islamic and Medieval art and architecture.

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