Marc Quinn Frozen Waves, Broken Sublimes at Somerset House. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates © Marc Quinn studio

Marc Quinn: Frozen Waves, Broken Sublimes

17 Sep – 21 Oct 2015
Edmond J. Safra
Fountain Court

Four monumental sculptures by Marc Quinn presented in The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. 

Forming two bodies of work entitled Frozen Wave and Broken Sublime (2015), the sculptures originate from the remnants of shells. This installation was the first time the works were presented outdoors. 

The Frozen Wave sculptures are minimal arcs in stainless steel, including one measuring 7.5 metres long. The works’ primal, gestural shapes originate from shells eroded by the endless action of the waves. Before they disappear and become sand, all conch shells end up in a similar form – an arch that looks like a wave, suggesting a self-portrait by nature. The Broken Sublime sculptures are modelled from shells which have been broken into by humans in order to eat the flesh inside and highlight how our relationship to nature is shaped by needs of the moment. Earlier this summer the sculptures were featured in Marc Quinn’s exhibition at White Cube, Bermondsey – ‘The Toxic Sublime’ - which explored the ecological impact of man on nature.

As Marc Quinn explains ‘Somerset House is a kind of urban beach of the Thames. Built on land which articulates the transition between the urban strand and the water of the river, it is the littoral zone of the city. By placing the cast stainless steel sculptures in the courtyard surrounded by the fountains, the water of the ocean which formed the sculptures’ shapes is linked to the tamed water of pipes, conduits and drains of the city’.