An Afternoon with Lorenzo Quinn


London's heatwave spattered on me like the breath of hell. My freshly blow-dried hair from the morning was now flat, and I could feel jewels of sweat on my forehead thanks to the stuffy tube. The only thing that brought me comfort was the fact that I’d soon be in a fully air-conditioned gallery to spend some time with contemporary artist, Lorenzo Quinn. 

As I walked into the Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street, I was greeted by Lorenzo himself. He had a signed copy of his new book waiting for me on the desk next to him.

Inspired by the likes of Michelangelo, Bernini and Rodin, Lorenzo is best known for his interpretation of human hands. Exhibited globally, his smaller, personal pieces communicate common human emotion, while his larger public art serves as a catalyst for global change. 

He took out his phone to me to show me a video of the prototype of his latest endeavour: a monumental archway that has finally gained approval by Italian officials. Construction will be underway soon, and it’s set to make a striking impression along the Venice canals.

New York in the 80s, drugs, and the frivolity of greed. We discussed a number of things. While doing so, Lorenzo steered me towards a closed-off section in the gallery. Inside, much to my admiration, was a selection of carefully curated pieces by Andy Warhol that have never been showcased to the public before.  

 We ended the afternoon by talking about his most photographed sculpture so far – the 30ft, white resin hands in Venice that appeared to hold up the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. Acting as an appeal for climate change, Lorenzo wishes to install the hands onto a glacier in the Arctic. He hopes to film a time-lapse as the ice gradually melts. When the hands are no longer seen to be holding anything, it should be a startling reminder that climate change is indeed a very real, very pertinent thing.