The Toxic Sublime at White Cube, London

It’s complicated, our relationship with the natural world. And Marc Quinn has found inspiration in that complexity for his latest exhibition with White Cube, The Toxic Sublime.

The first of the two bodies of work on show is itself knotty. Is it painting or is it sculpture? Well, it started life as a series of canvases with the same photograph of a sunrise printed onto them. Quinn subjected each one to an aggressive process of sanding, taping and spray-painting through various templates made of flotsam and jetsam plucked from the beach. The images were then given rather an ungracious introduction to the streets of London by having their faces pressed into drain covers.

The water theme is plain to see, so far. But then things become a little less clear because the artist has bonded each – now unique – picture to a sheet of aluminum and pummelled them, knocking them senseless so that they don’t know if they should be paintings or sculptures.

Perhaps to parallel his own violent creations with those of nature, Quinn’s second body of work, Frozen Waves, imitate the remnants of conch shells. With the aid of new three-dimensional technology, the ancient actions of time and tide have been captured on a variety of scales in white concrete and stainless steel. Man shapes his materials as nature shapes hers.

JJ56608 (medium res) 2© Mark Quinn, The Toxic Sublime (2014)

JJ56989 (medium res) 2© Marc Quinn, The Toxic Sublime (2015)

Marc Quinn Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Ultra Gravity) 2015 (medium res) 2© Marc Quinn, Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Ultra Gravity) (2015)

Marc Quinn Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Linear Momentum) 2015 (medium res) 2© Marc Quinn, Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Linear Momentum) (2015)

Marc Quinn Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Matter) 2015 (medium res) 2© Marc Quinn, Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Matter) (2015)

by Thomas Allen

The Toxic Sublime will run from July 15 to September 13, 2015 at White Cube, 144-152 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ

All images © Marc Quinn Studio and courtesy of White Cube

About The Author

Thomas Allen

Glass Online art writer

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