Self by Marc Quinn

Craft & Design
Self by Marc Quinn

Self by Marc Quinn

…a frozen sculpture of the artist’s head made from 4.5 litres of the artist’s own frozen blood taken from his body over a period of five months. This work is repeated every five years and will result in a unique record of the artist aging.

20 thoughts on “Self by Marc Quinn

  1. Tron says:

    This is disgusting to the ultimate level. He should have donated the blood. And the whole stuff has to be kept frozen, what a waste. Popularity above everything, who does the craziest sht. Unbelieveable.

  2. irright says:

    Or, taking a picture would also work.

  3. brazzy says:

    Art is all about evoking emotion. Pulling the strings of people who are easily disgusted (and get all righteously furious about nothing) is a rather cheap way to do it. Bonus points for creativity, though.

  4. Simon says:

    If he really wants to make a statement perhaps next time he could try donating those 4.5 litres all at once :)

    Also not all blood is suitable for donation. Here in NZ I can’t donate blood anymore since I lived in the UK at the wrong time and might have mad cows disease! According to the local web site: “You must not have lived in the United Kingdom, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 1996 for a cumulative 6 months or more.”

  5. XsavioR says:

    Woah excellent halloween bit. Cant say id like to be in the same room with it but all the more reason it should make ………… make.

    Made my stomach turn , yet the meaning of a portrait in blood is quite literal given what we can get from a bit of blood (ie dna etc).

  6. Dale Wheat says:

    Some people are just not going to “get it” when it comes to art. This will always be the case. Judas objected to Mary annointing Jesus’ feet with expensive oil, when it could have been sold to feed the poor. Go look up Christ’s reply, if you like.

    This piece works on several levels at once. Devoted artists will certainly appreciate Quinn’s investment in this piece. A lot of artists speak figuratively about putting “blood, sweat & tears” into a project; Quinn DID it.

    It’s also a very unique piece, both in style and execution. I’m sure there were cave-people who didn’t appreciate that one weird caveperson who went and scribbled all over the walls of their tidy cave. Today we point to that enduring legacy of the originas representational art and say, “Well, of course…”

    I had the opportunity to tour the Rachofsky House in Dallas ( a couple of years ago. This piece is a part of their collection but was not on display at the time of my visit. I was told it was plugged in down in the basement. This would have been one of very few representational works in the collection but fits in with their philosophy of exploring the concepts of identity and self. I can tell you truly that I did not “get” a lot of the artwork that was exhibited, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating the work that went into their creation as well as the effect the art has on its owners and visitors, which is the true measure of its “value”.

    Sure, I agree that this particular piece is not for everyone. It is MEANT to be disturbing and thought-provoking. I wouldn’t want it in my house. But please take the time to ask yourself, “What else is Quinn trying to say to me in this work?”

    Just please don’t lump this work in with all the other blood-splattered gore we get to enjoy during the run-up to Halloween.

    1. Simon says:

      “This piece works on several levels at once.”

      Whenever I hear that phrase used to describe art I am suspicious that the piece in question has no real value and needs to be explained.

      But then I am probably one of these people who doesn’t get it. To me art is something like a beautiful V12 Merlin engine gorgeously engineered and beautifully functional.

      Some chap making a giant ice cube mold of his head and freezing blood in it just seems more, well, pointless. Like most ‘art’ designed to make people think ‘is it art?’.

      1. Dale Wheat says:


        You’re exactly right! What’s often called “Art” with a Capital A is many times so far removed from the world that most people inhabit that it loses meaning for most.

        Perhaps a better definition, and the one that I frequently use, is a work of surpassing quality or skill, to say that something has been “artfully” done, or “that person is a real artist at what they do”.

        Your example of a Merlin V12 engine is very apt. Is it both functionally superior and at the same time enjoyable for other attributes, such as appearance, sound or tactile feedback? If so, then it transcends mere workmanship to attain the status of appreciated artwork.

        In this world where it’s trival to take a picture and make a million identical copies or create a timepiece that’s accurate to an unreasonable number of decimal places, it’s often hard to imagine that it would take any sort of effort to try and communicate an idea that would resonate with total strangers. Quinn has made an effort. Is it art? Howard Rachofsky thought so. Does everyone have to agree on this? Nope. It does make life more interesting, however, in both cases.

  7. John Pattillo says:

    I thought that number sounded familiar, so I looked it up. It turns out that 4.5 liters is close to the average amount of blood in a human body, which averages 4.5 in females and 5.5 in female. Maybe Marc Quinn calculated that he had 4.5 liters in his body or maybe he just couldn’t fit anymore in a mold of his head.

  8. Abii Roper says:

    Everyone who’s saying this is ‘weird’ and ‘disgusting’ is an idiot.
    It’s art, its meant to be.
    I think its really intelligent and original.
    It;s his blood, he should be able to do what he wants with it.
    Donate you’re own blood!

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