Marc Quinn describes his Frozen Wave sculptures as “an unwitting self-portrait by nature”. They aren’t sculptures of waves – although their rippling stainless steel surfaces do look like water – but are inspired by the shapes of shells before they become grains of sand.
They are meant to be ambiguous, emulating forces of nature that we can’t see. These remnants of shells, which have been eroded by waves, are a miniscule part of the physical world, but play a much bigger part in a less tangible world of natural forces. Their titles reference the science of fluid dynamics – for example, Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Linear Momentum) – reminding us that these natural forces are more powerful than humans and their interference with the planet.
This month, the sculptures will be on show as part of Quinn’s first solo exhibition in the region. Frozen Wave (The Conservation of Mass) will be on display outside the Museum of Islamic Art and his bronze sculpture of a conch shell outside Anima Gallery. Titled The Origin of the World (Cassis Madagascariensis) Longitudes it alludes to a famous painting by Gustave Courbet, drawing a link between the natural world, the origins of human form and the circle of life.
The relationship between art, science, the human body, DNA, life, death, elemental compositions and surface appearances are all central to his work. From oil paintings of irises titled We Share Our Chemistry with the Stars to sculptures imitating fingerprints, to vibrant still life paintings of flowers and fruit, the work on show is beautiful, mesmerising and, ultimately, larger than life.
13 November-13 February 2017. Anima Gallery, The Pearl-Qatar (4002 7437); Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Corniche (4422 4444).