Contemporary sculptors at the British Museum.
4 October 2008 – 25 January 2009. Admission free.
Marc Quinn intrigued visitors to London’s
Trafalgar Square when
his monumental statue of Alison Lapper, a pregnant disabled woman, was installed on the square’s fourth plinth in 2005.
Quinn’s fascination with our attitudes towards female beauty has repeatedly led him to ancient Greek art. His new sculpture, Siren, is of the model Kate Moss and is made entirely out of gold. Quinn presents Moss as a modern-day Aphrodite reminding us that Moss's likeness has become as iconic as the goddesses of the ancient world.
Named after the deadly marine seductresses of Greek mythology, Siren transfixes the viewer with her intense gaze. She is positioned next to the Nereid Monument – a temple-like tomb adorned with sea-nymphs. Her contorted body parallels the crouching pose of the nearby statue of Aphrodite (‘Lely’s Venus’).
'The mask of Tutankhamun is one of the first artworks ever I remember seeing – it was in the early 1970s in the British Museum show, and that was one of the inspirations of this work as well. Like that mask, Siren is an image that glows and gives out love and light but remains completely implacable and silent. I think of both of them as sculptures of a cultural superego.'