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Marc Quinn: Light Into Life (available for June pre-order)

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Pre-order available for mid-June. This striking book accompanies the major exhibition Light into Life by leading contemporary artist Marc Quinn. Stunning photography showcases the stainless steel and bronze sculptures around the Gardens and in the Temperate House, alongside Quinn’s new and existing paintings, drawings, sculptures and evocative frozen works in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery. 


By Marc Quinn with contributions by Francesca Gavin, Mary McCartney, Melanie-Jayne Howes and William Baker. 80 pp, 150 colour photographs, 320 x 240 mm. Hardback, ISBN 9781842468258. Kew Publishing, 2024.

Light into Life encompasses monumental sculptures in the Kew landscape alongside a gallery exhibition that examines our complex and often challenging relationship with the natural world.  It includes newly conceived artworks inspired by Kew’s archives, scientific research and horticulture. These are accompanied by a selection of existing pieces, many of which explore the idea of nature as a fundamental part of humanity – a prominent focus of Marc Quinn’s practice since the 1990s. Together, the works explore our common biological origins and reflect on humanity’s capacity to both preserve and destroy nature. 

The accompanying exhibition book features exclusive images from the exhibition, alongside an essay by Francesca Gavin and contributions by senior researchers from Kew, Prof. William J. Baker and Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes.


Marc Quinn, born in 1964, is a London-based artist whose wide-ranging practice – which incorporates sculpture, painting and drawing – is not easily categorised. His work connects frequently and meaningfully with art history, from modern masters to classical antiquity, whilst also drawing on science and the natural world. At its centre is an exploration of the multifaceted experience of being human. 

Francesca Gavin is a curator, writer and currently the Artistic Director of viennacontemporary. She is Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of EPOCH Review, a contributing editor at Twin and Beauty Papers and has regularly contributed to Financial Times HTSI, Frieze, Cura, Blau, Artnet among numerous other publications. Gavin has written ten books on contemporary art including Watch This Space, 100 New Artists and Hell Bound: New Gothic Art. She co-curated the Manifesta11 biennial in Zurich and has curated instituional exhibitions internationally. 

William J. Baker PhD is a Senior Research Leader at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Honorary Professor at Aarhus University. His research focuses on the taxonomy, phylogenetics, biogeography and conservation of flowering plants. For 30 years, he has specialised in palms, making many contributions to the understanding the evolution and classification of the family using evidence from DNA. 

Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes is a Senior Research Leader in Biological Chemistry at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, where she leads research in plant chemistry and bioactive molecules. Dr Howes is a Chartered Chemist with over 80 publications on the chemistry and uses of plants and their chemical constituents, particularly those used as medicines and for health. She is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, KCL, UK.

Pre-order available for mid-June

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