Marc Quinn’s Self-Conscious Gene


Known for his challenging, monumental sculptures artist Marc Quinn has been commissioned by London’s Science Museum to create a piece that will welcome visitors to its new galleries. The landmark £24 million project that will create a magnificent new space to house the Museum’s world-renowned medical collection.


Marc Quinn The Artists Impression Of Self Conscious Gene 2017Cmarc Quinn Studio 600X600


The sculpture will immortalise Rick Genest, A.K.A ‘Zombie Boy’, who sadly passed away at 32 years old, last week. The Canadian artist and model decided to celebrate his body after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in his teens, by tattooing its insides onto his skin. His brain appeared in black and white atop his cranium, and muscle fibres stretched across his shoulders –  in fact Genest turned almost 90% of his body into canvas.  


“What I love about Rick is that his body is at the crossroads of popular street culture, deep philosophical meaning, and medicine,” Quinn says in a statement. “It seemed to me that this was exactly what was needed in the Science Museum.”


Quinn’s 3.5-metre high bronze sculpture entitled Self-Conscious Gene extends from his ongoing Body Alterations series and is concerned with exploring the intersection of modern medicine and technology, and identity and modification. The figure will hold an encyclopaedia of anatomy, and Quinn hopes its installation at the Science Museum will encourage museum visitors to reflect on the relationship they have with their own bodies.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, said: “Artists and scientists have helped shape our sense of the body and health, and placed medicine as central to our culture. That is why we wanted to position new art commissions alongside the richly visual medical artefacts in our existing collection, to help visitors consider anew their relationship with medicine. It has been a personal ambition of mine to work with Marc Quinn for more than two decades, and I am sure our millions of visitors will be both fascinated and challenged by this remarkable sculpture for many years to come.”