In Legion the two states of innocence and corruption coexist: the best and the worst of humans. On first sight it depicts a baby sleeping. The image is one of purity and vulnerability. Then, in the sculpture’s composition of wax mixed with industrially produced, freeze-dried animal blood, we witness the harshness of the human race, which has always sought to dominate others to further its own survival and desires. Here, the presence of animal blood represents the selfish appropriation by man of nature’s other creations, for purposes he perceives as more worthy. The title Legion reminds us of the countless number of animals used in the production of this substance. In Legion this selfishness exists alongside the tenderness of humans, presenting a riddle with no answer.
Legion also references Marc’s series of sculptures Chemical Life Support, which comprised sculptures of people who keep chronic illness at bay with drugs. Each sculpture is cast from polymer wax mixed with the drug that keeps each subject alive, including Innoscience (2004), a figure of Marc’s baby son, a milk allergy sufferer, where the wax is mixed with the chemically-produced milk-free substitute used to sustain him.
Marc Quinn’s work explores the relationship between art and science, the human body and the perception of beauty, among other things. Marc came to prominence in 1991 with his sculpture Self, a cast of his head made from eight pints of his own frozen blood. On Legion he notes “We all have blood and we’re all alive and we all will die, and those are fundamental shared aspects of the human condition which I was interested in exploring. One of the great things for me about these sculptures was to discover that beautiful, crystalline red colour of blood.”