Marc Quinn

The unique treasure house of Sir John Soane’s Museum is so stuffed with paintings, drawings, statues, ceramics, furniture, rugs and other artefacts collected by the great architect from almost every corner of the world and covering almost every century of human civilisation that it’s hard to imagine how a dozen sculptures by the former YBA could possibly hold their own. Yet not only do they retain an uncompromising identity they also actually enhance the marvels surrounding them thanks to the essential truth they represent – the depth of love that raises our species above the planet’s zillions of other life-forms. Quinn’s pieces, all featuring his own hands embracing, caressing and even kneading the naked flesh of his partner, the dancer Jenny Bastet, shine north in their pure whiteness among the timeworn and faded beauty of the museum’s permanent collection (which incidentally includes four fabulous Hogarth paintings on the theme of elections). The contemporary starkness of the works, collectively called Drawn From Life, epitomise the latest phase in the evolution of art – and they are not found wanting. Soane would undoubtedly have approved. This brilliant exhibition runs at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields museum until September 23.

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