Self is a frozen sculpture of the artist’s head made from 4.5 litres of his own blood, taken from his body over a period of 5 months. In interview in 2000, reflecting on the iconic artwork, he remarked, “Well, I think it’s a great sculpture. I’m really happy with it. I think it is inevitable that you have one piece people focus in on. But that’s really good because it gets people into the work.” Described by Quinn as a ‘frozen moment on life support’, the work is carefully maintained in a refrigeration unit, reminding the viewer of the fragility of existence. The artist makes a new version of Self every five years, each of which documents Quinn’s own physical transformation and deterioration.
Brain Inflation, Ai Weiwei, 2009
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