Marc Quinn's baby reborn in Singapore

The British artist's sculpture of his infant son has gone on permanent display in a Singapore park
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Planet (2008) by Marc Quinn at The Gardens by The Bay, Singapore.
Planet (2008) by Marc Quinn at The Gardens by The Bay, Singapore.

Earlier this week, British sculptor Marc Quinn unveiled his 2008 sculpture, Planet, in its new location, within the Gardens by the Bay Park in Singapore.

The work, a 2008 ten-metre steel and bronze sculpture of Quinn's son, was first shown at the Sotheby's contemporary sculpture show, Beyond Limits, at Chatsworth House, England, back in 2008, before going onto be shown at Quinn's own 2012 exhibition, The Littoral Zone, at the Musée Océanographique in Monaco.

Now, an anonymous benefactor has donated the sculpture to the Singaporean park for permanent display.

To mark its unveiling, Quinn gave an interview to ArtInfo, and offered some remarkably straightforward answers to the work's meaning. In response to the simple question "What is it about?", Quinn explained that the work dealt with "a paradox, an inversion of our relationship to our planet. It makes you realize that something big, like our planet, is vulnerable as well, and kind of precious", before adding that one simple explanation isn't an appropriate way to understand art.

On this final point, That Guardian newspaper's critic, Jonathan Jones, agrees. "Art that flaunts its content in an immediately readable way risks vacuity," he writes in response to Planet's unveiling. "Shouldn't there be some ambiguity, even profundity, in art?" Jones goes on, "Art should challenge us. How does Quinn's giant floating baby do that? Everyone can see what it is - a bland cocktail of awe and empathy."

Is this fair? Jones' comments not withstanding, we're certainly impressed by Quinn's global reach, and the skill with which Singapore's National Parks Board have acquired the work for public display.

For more on this story read the ArtInfo interview and Jonathan Jones' blog post, and for more on artistic uses of and responses to the human form, consider our work, The Artist's Body, a selection of the most significant players who have used their bodies to create art.

 


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