British sculptor Marc Quinn is keeping up with his contemporaries. Since he was in fact the first artist to be represented by White Cube British art dealer, Jay Jopling, followed shortly by the patronage of Iraqi advertising emperor Charles Saatchi, perhaps one should state his fellow British contemporaries are keeping up with him. His most recent and headlining piece is a 50kg sold gold sculpture titled Siren which portrays supermodel and label icon, Kate Moss. (Cast model seen above). Greek mythology states that the Sirens were dangerously seductive bird like women who lived near the water and among rocky cliffs. The statue now stands prominently in the British Museum’s Statuephilia exhibition in London alongside anthropological icons such as ancient mummies, Greek columns and Mesopotamian sculptures.
What Quinn has presented us with seems to be a perfect example of society beginning to masturbate itself. In his own work, British artist Martin Creed stated the infamous neon“The Whole World + The Work = The Whole World.” Somehow this is relevant. With this kind of art in the context of today’s first world society, the chicken does not seem to be flying far from the coop. The ideas that generate, for instance, a solid gold statue of Kate Moss with her legs behind her head, seem to be caught in a very small bottle, self perpetuating and incestuous. First world contemporary society commenting on contemporary society, being bought and sold and sponsored by… members of the first world’s contemporary society. However, its revolutionary! Its contemporary! The question should be; How long is this conceptual journey, (which ends not far from it’s start) ? If the answer is; Long enough to create a full circle through art history and ending in the now, then that is justifiable. However, if the answer is; One small step to the left, we have a serious intellectual problem. We can’t avoid the cultural connotations that Quinn’s highly celebrated new work suggests. And I may be answering my own question by pointing out that we can’t help but reference former Aphrodites in art history. Compare graceful and poised sculptures such as Venus de Milo or the Nike of Samothrace to what is being offered as the contemporary vision. Contemporary society commenting on and being inspired by contemporary society is proving to gentrify itself. Although art is only one facet, it succeeds in documenting and in turn provoking this social and ideological gentrification. Slowly and maybe even unconsciously we then experience our ideals, our notions of self, our notions of beauty and our notions of acceptability and our expectations to evolve and/or regress.