Marc Quinn - New Now London Thursday, April 28, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'The iris is in a way our doorway to the world, it is the window we see out of and the doorway for light to enter and interact with our nervous system. They are like the leakage of the vivid interior world of the body to the monochrome world of the skin.' —Marc Quinn

    Since the sensational 1991 debut of Self – a cast of the artist’s head made from ten pints of his own blood – British artist Marc Quinn has continued to make work that explores the limits of our bodies, and of the intersection of our bodies with those of others. Painted in 2017, We Share our Chemistry with the Stars belongs to Quinn’s ongoing series of Iris paintings, which build on traditional ideas of the eye being the ‘window to the soul’ to explore the highly individualised nature of the iris, and of its privileged state as a boundary line between inside and outside worlds.


    As with other works of the series, We Share our Chemistry with the Stars is a photorealist depiction of an iris shown at close range and enlarged to enormous proportions. Executed in oils on a large, circular canvas, the pupil appears to float in the centre of the composition, an aperture around which the complex, and highly individual striations of the iris are circled. Subtle modulations in tone and pattern create a particularly iridescent and nuanced field of deep, rich browns in this unique work that is coming to auction from the personal collection of Quinn’s former partner and muse Jenny Bastet. As a portrait of Bastet, We Share our Chemistry with the Stars is especially charged with personal significance, highlighting Bastet's truth, tenacity and bravery- a testament to the intimate study of individual identity explored across the series more broadly.


    As well as being involved in some of the defining exhibitions of the 1990s, Quinn has exhibited at some of the world’s leading institutions including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Fondazione Prada in Milan, and the Fondation Beyeler in Basel. His works are housed in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou in Paris. 

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner



We Share Our Chemistry With The Stars

signed, titled and dated 'We Share Our Chemistry With The Stars Marc Quinn 2017' on the reverse
oil on canvas
diameter 198.4 cm (78 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now
+44 20 7901 7993

New Now

London Auction 28 April 2022