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Casual classicism? In conversation with Marc Quinn’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-235
JournalInternational Journal of the Classical Tradition
Publication statusPublished - 2017



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This article explores one of the richest recent engagements with classical traditions of art: Marc Quinn’s twelve All About Love statues, installed as part of a 2017 exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Quinn’s life-cast statues respond to various aspects of Greek and Roman sculpture, not least in their scale, attention to naturalistic detail and schematic poses. But they do so in a distinctly modern idiom, championing ideas of fragmentation, the incomplete, and the subjective imagination. The installation of Quinn’s statues in Soane’s Museum – a time-capsule of early nineteenth-century modes of displaying antiquities, and a compendium of juxtaposed fragments – enriches the effect: Quinn engages not only with classical traditions of representing the body, but also with the reception of that legacy over the longue durée of western art history. The article begins by explaining why Quinn’s sculptures are so important for approaching contemporary responses to classical art. It then takes the form of an extended interview with the artist, probing Quinn’s understanding of the ‘classical’, the thinking behind the All About Love sequence, and the artist’s ongoing fascination with Graeco-Roman visual culture.

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