Marc Quinn has had a close working relationship with Adam Lowe for many years and each project develops from the mix of ideas and technical possibilities that form the content of their discussions. The scaling up of the orchid is a good example of this. Marc wanted a work that could stand outside for many years without fading. He wanted the printing to be at a resolution that even from close up you cannot see any artefacts of the printing and he wanted it to be transportable.
The solution to this brief was to print it the image onto a fine canvas in oil paint using a printer that works like an airbrush. This way the team could control the pigments used, and guarantee the light-fastness of the colour. After printing, in order to strengthen the colour, the flower was painted by hand using airbrushes.
The next stage was to fix the canvas to the structure which is done with an epoxy glue using a process that is similar to that used in bookbinding. Once adhered, the surface is covered with many layers of a water-cured polyurethane varnish that contains a 95%UV filter. Once a uniform gloss surface has been achieved a final layer of a matt varnish, also containing UV filters is applied.
The first sculpture, commissioned by Goodwood Sculpture Park stood for over a year in an exposed site in the park before being moved to the garden in front of Tate Britain for a further four months. The colour and surface were exactly as they were when the work left the workshop.
Factum Arte has made five Orchids in total. 2 x 12 meters high, 2 x 6 meters high and one 3 meters high.