Marc Quinn’s, Planet, a giant sculpture of a sleeping baby suspended in mid-air installed at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore appears like something out of J G Ballard’s 1975 science fiction fantasy, Vermilion Sands. The novel includes singing statues, a conservatoire of harmonic flower chorales, and sculptural cloud carving, set in the futuristic resorts of Beach Drive and Lagoon West. The horticultural attractions of Gardens by the Bay feature a Silver Garden, Flower Dome, World of Plants, Dragonfly Lake and Kingfisher Lake, Cloud Forest, and Supertree Grove and over 40 artworks as part of Singapore’s vision of a ‘City in a Garden’.
Planet, created in 2008, is made of painted bronze and steel, 10-metres long and weighing 7-tons, and appears to float weightlessly above the ground. It depicts the artist’s son at 7-months old, and is one of three sculptures that drew inspiration from the early development of his infant son – Planet, 2008, Innoscience, 2004, and Lucas, 2001.
“To me, Planet is a paradox – hugely heavy, yet the bronze appears weightless; overwhelmingly big, yet also an image of vulnerability. It is both a reflection of ourselves and the earth upon which we live,” Marc Quinn.
Marc Quinn’s most famous iconic sculpture, Self, a sculpture of his head made with 4.5 litres of his own frozen blood, displays a preoccupation with the mutability of the body and the dualisms that define human life: spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual. His work develops these paradoxes in terms of the estranged relationship we have with our bodies, highlighting the conflict between the ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’. The sculpture was previously exhibited at Beyond Limits, Chatsworth House, 2008, and The Littoral Zone, Musée Océanographique de Monaco, 2012
Located at The Meadow, Planet is a prominent landmark to the Gardens’ new city gateway, which connects the Gardens to the Bayfront MRT Station. Gardens by the Bay spans a total of 101 hectares of prime land at the heart of Singapore’s new downtown – Marina Bay. Comprising three waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central –and is “a showcase of horticulture and garden artistry that will bring the world of plants to Singapore and present Singapore to the World.” The donation of the sculpture for permanent installation, by Mr and Mrs Putra and Imelda Masagung. includes an additional S$2m for the development and landscaping of the area where the sculpture is displayed.
Image: Marc Quinn, Planet, 2008. Painted bronze and steel. 3.83 x 3.53 x 9.26 metres. Photo © Gardens by the Bay.
Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore