Since catapulting into prominence in the early 1990s, contemporary artist and sculptor Marc Quinn has investigated the intersections of art and science with a variety of mediums. Throughout his career, Quinn has also explored the idea of the human body in relation to perceptions of beauty in critically acclaimed projects such as Self (1991), a cast of the artist’s head made from ten pints of his own frozen blood, and Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005), a marble sculpture depicting disabled artist Alison Lapper, among others. Using both traditional and non-traditional materials, Quinn’s work focuses on the materiality of the object, employing themes of life, death and identity.
Born in London in 1964, Quinn studied history and the history of art at Cambridge University. Following his graduation, Quinn worked as an assistant to the sculptor Barry Flanagan. He has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including Tate Gallery, London (1995), Kunstverein Hannover (1999), Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000), Tate Liverpool (2002), MACRO, Rome (2006), Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2009), White Cube, London (2010), Musée Océanographique, Monaco (2012), and Arter, Space for Art, Istanbul (2014). A major exhibition by Quinn took place at White Cube, London in the summer of 2015.
Located next to the new Dell Medical School’s Health Learning Building, and at the heart of the burgeoning health district in downtown Austin, Marc Quinn’s Spiral of the Galaxy is emblematic of the human form and healing. The seven-ton bronze sculpture depicts an elegant conch shell with chambers that gradually expand in an outward direction. The conch carries cultural and religious significance, and among many interpretations can be seen here as a complex structure that protects delicate organisms.
Landmarks acquired Spiral of the Galaxy through a percent-for-art allocation that sets aside one to two percent of capital improvement projects for the acquisition of public art. It was cast as Quinn’s proof alongside an edition of three, and it is the only example of the piece in the United States. The sculpture was first shown at an exhibition of the artist’s work in 2013 at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, Italy.
Spiral of the Galaxy will be formally unveiled on 24 October 2016.