At the Cini Foundation in Venice in 2013, Marc Quinn exhibited five huge sea shells from his series “The Archaeology of Art” which, set against water, looked as if they had been washed ashore. At the White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey, London, the highly polished floors of the gallery take on the reflective character of water on a beach on which sit five stainless steel shells from his new series “Frozen Wave” set against the backcloth of the walls hung with his three dimensional works “The Toxic Substances”.
Both series are part of Quinn’s ongoing investigation into nature and man’s complicated relationship with the environment.
While the bronze shells at the Venice exhibition were complete (created with 3D printing using DNA computer files of the original shells), the stainless steel shells in this latest series of work are broken and damaged, which is the reality of most shells on the beach as they slowly break down into shelly sand, eroded by the continual movement of the tides, with a contrast between parts which are rough and weathered and those which are highly polished.
The “Toxic Substances” series also has a link with water, both at the sea and in cities and towns. The works start with a canvas-based photograph of a sunrise which is then sanded, taped and spray painted through different templates online casino of debris found on the beach. Quinn takes this work into London’s streets and adds the inprint of drain covers before bonding the canvas onto aluminium sheets which he twists and distorts. While all the works originate from the same photograph, each is unique and different, reflecting on how man takes something as simple as water and uses it in different and complex ways in the urban environment and, in the process, destroys the original beauty and create something different.
Also using aluminium, is the parallel exhibition “Inside the White Cube” by the German artist Imi Knowbel, conceived as a single work across two galleries exploring the relationship between form, colour and the architecture of space using acrylic on aluminium panels. In the 9x9x9 gallery KNoebel has hung nine white “kites” at different levels, so that the room itself becomes the artwork, while in the other gallery the other coloured shapes race round the walls and are reflected in the polished floor, with “Amor intellectualis Tafel DCCCLVI” including mirrored glass which reflects back into the architecture of the gallery itself.