You might recognise the artist’s face – you may have seen it preserved in a glass case, moulded from blood. The artist’s blood. One of the original YBAs, Marc Quinn has long found his work shrouded in controversy from the aforementioned ‘Self’ to the Alison Lapper Pregnant sculpture that lived on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth and later was represented in inflatable form at the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. And that time he did a self portrait in his own shit. However in the new documentary, filmed by Gerry Fox, we see a more peaceful Quinn as we follow his inspirations and work around the world from the Venice Biennale to the Chelsea Flower Show, tattoo conventions to celebrity parties.
Fly-on-the-wall in its most stripped back form, right down to the camera hitting interviewees on the head, Marc Quinn: Making Waves is an honest look at the life of an artist, often amusing, sometimes provocative but always enlightening sharing first-hand the method behind the madness of his work.
Opening in a sparse, white walled gallery, with a series of bronze shell sculptures, 3D scanned from conches found on a beach in India, Quinn offers his explanation behind his chosen subject matter – something beautiful created by something without a brain. It’s a wonderful vision. This organic presentation of Quinn and his work continues, from his conversion to veganism, much to the surprise of his director-friend as he sits and eats his salad beneath one of his earlier works, a woman laying on a bed of raw meat, to his interest in the human form and scarification. Quinn’s work is a provocative meeting between the traditional and the painstakingly current, from Persian inspired tapestry rugs designed from visceral photos of the London riots to bronze casts of hoodies and 3D printed golden bonsai trees.
While certainly ticking the absurdity of the art world, the unashamed opening of the Little Black Book adds little with cameos from the likes of Lionel Ritchie, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Ai Wei-Wei and Elton John, in fact detracting from what is the most interesting of the film, the artist’s process.
Entering his studio, seeing how he works and meeting the artist ‘at home’ amongst family, is where Making Waves sails best, inviting us on a voyage into artistic discovery and creative inspiration.
Marc Quinn: Making Waves is screening on Sunday 19 October (RichMix).
View the full festival programme online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff