I heard of this piece back when I was in high school. I was very intrigued to see what it was because it was made of something different than other sculptures and statues. This piece is called “Self”. It was done by an artist named Marc Quinn, and he used his very own blood. He has said that it’s a frozen moment on life support. The work is carefully maintained in a refrigeration unit, reminding the viewer of the fragility of existence. He also makes a new version of Self every five years, each of which documents Quinn’s own physical transformation and deterioration over the years of his life. The only reason I heard about it in the first place is because the first one he made and sold, ended up melting because the freezer where it was kept was accidentally unplugged.
I decided to choose this piece because we have been talking about the materials that have been used throughout history. Just to get his medium ready, it would take months. Even with a five month waiting time to make it because it took that long to get enough blood from his body, a pint at a time, I think that the name is absolutely perfect. It’s a self-portrait statue. It’s his own face, and made from his own body. He literally puts himself into his artwork. It will be amazing to see all the heads lined up at one time to see the change over the years.
Because it must be kept frozen at all times in order to keep the piece in tact is one thing that is a little unique to this piece and is one reason I like it. The owner must have an appreciation of the artwork to want to keep it. The dark red of the head with the frosty outer coating gives it a snowy like glaze. What I don’t like about the piece is the seam where the mold was split, there is a big chunky line all the way around the head. It is necessary though, because without it, it would have the grotesque look about it.
Is it weird to use blood for art?
If “Self” were made with anything else, would the name still have the same meaning?
Do you think blood makes good artworks?
I have provided other images to show blood used in other ways, not by Marc Quinn, but by Dr. Rev Mayers to show what it looks like as a paint as well. It has a beautiful rusty brownish red color to it, and just like the egg tempura, has to be coated multiple times to make darker shades.