Back in 1991, Marc Quinn started one of the most bizarre art projects in history – making detailed self-portraits from his own frozen blood. He has been making a new one every five year or so, since then. Yes, they’re creepy, but think of it this way – it must be reassuring for Mark to know that if he ever needs a transfusion, he’s got a few gallons of blood he can use.
Marc Quinn created his “Self ” series as a means of recording the changes of his face throughout the years, such as countenance and ageing, and if you look closely at the four blood portraits he has made so far, you’ll notice his face has indeed matured over time. Of course, he could have used a more common material for his artworks, but the message wouldn’t have been as powerful as using his own blood. According to Scientific American magazine, “by crafting these heads out of his own blood, Quinn reconnects us to the the fact that in the fullness of time, no artist’s attempt at immortality through self-portraiture will prevail. And of course the series will presumably end in the course of the artist’s life, so the artwork’s time-dimension has a death of sorts as well.”
For each of his four frozen portraits, Quinn used between four and five liters of his own blood, extracted over a period of five months. After creating a detailed mold of his face, he froze the blood to create his creepy portraits. They are maintained in refrigeration units at a constant temperature of -15 degrees Celsius, to prevent them from melting. The latest “Self” sculpture is hosted alongside other famous portraits, at the National Portrait Gallery, in England, while others have been bought by foreign galleries or private collectors.
Marc Quinn, who likes to employ biology and genetics in his works, to expresses how art and science work together, has worked with a variety of other more conventional materials, such as glass, gold and ice.