British sculptor, born in London. His background was in history and history of art, which he studied at Cambridge University. He has been strongly identified with the Young British Artists, gaining considerable support early in his career from Charles Saatchi. His work is in many different media but is unified by a preoccupation, shared with Hirst, with mortality and the body, although when an interviewer suggested to him that he might make a sculpture from a corpse he replied: ‘I am more interested in life. Or evoking the fragility of life’ (The Times, 26 February 2005). This was manifested in the work which made his name, Self (1991, formerly Saatchi collection). This consists of a cast of the artist's head in eight pints of his own frozen blood. It was once falsely rumoured that it had accidentally melted.
In 2005 Quinn's marble sculpture of Alison Lapper (1965– ), a severely disabled artist, represented when she was eight and a half months pregnant, was displayed temporarily on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. Quinn pointed out that the square already contained a statue of a disabled person, Nelson, and described the Lapper statue as a ‘new model of female heroism’, a conquest over circumstances and prejudice.