Marc Quinn at Somerset House



While I was at Somerset House during my visit to London a few weeks ago I spotted a number of large silver structures glistening in he bright sunlight. Curious I went for a closer look. I discovered that they were sculptures by the British artist Marc Quinn. Four pieces cast from stainless steel inspired by fragments of seashells – Frozen Wave and Broken Sublime (2015).


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. (Somerset House website)


Each piece had both rough and smooth surfaces. The latter highly polished and reflecting the strong sunlight on a bright, sunny, early autumn morning.


There’s an interesting Studio Diary on the artist’s website showing how the largest of the structures, Frozen Wave was created – cast in stainless steel from a polystyrene master.