At the beginning of each month we post articles profiling great artists. This month’s choice share a local link with us…
It is very exciting when there is a local connection to art work on display and we are delighted to be in possession of a limited edition etching (number 41 of 100 to be precise!) by the enfants terrible of Brit Art, the one and only Jake and Dinos Chapman, also known as The Chapman Brothers. These visual artists have been controversial with subject matter that may be deemed offensive, appalling, and inappropriate in some circles, but it did not prevent them from becoming Turner Prize nominees or prevent their art from being collected in some of the most prestigious institutions in the art world – deepspacegallery included of course!
Jake and Dinos Chapman
Iakovos and Konstantinos (Jake and Dinos) Chapman were born of an orthodox Greek Cypriot mother and British father in the sixties. While Dinos was born in London in 1962, his brother Jake was Cheltenham born and bred in 1966. The brothers went to school at Glenfall Primary School here in Charlton Kings, which is also the location of deepspacegallery. Art was in the blood as their father was an Art Technician at Cheltenham Art College. Later, they moved to Hastings in Sussex where they attended the William Parker Comprehensive School.
By their own admission, the brothers admit they were not the best of friends and allies in early years and hardly spent any time together, spending time with different sets of friends and attending different schools at various times due to the four year age gap. Passing off their childhood as mostly irrelevant, Jake enrolled at the North East Polytechnic and Dinos at Ravensbourne College of Art. The two brothers did not really know each other until they enrolled at the Royal College of Art together when the dialogue and exchange of ideas has been in place ever since. A realisation that their combined thought processes excited them more than their individual efforts, they began to make art. Together, they acted as Artists Assistants to the famed art duo Gilbert and George.
In a career spanning over twenty years, Jake and Dinos Chapman have shown their visions of hell in their studio in Hackney Wick, London. The former iron factory seems appropriate as a form of purgatory to nurture artistic expression of this type. Jake and Dinos have many versions of hell that include incarnations form Nazi Germany, McDonald’s fast food chain, featuring limbs, many , many limbs and contorted twisted bodies. Toy figurine forms are sculpted, emerging as multi-headed children with penile noses and mouths. The imagery produced by the brothers is at once, a brutal, hilarious, never-ending vampirical nightmare. They tackle issues of genocide, gender, death, and warfare, which have become iconic Western art pieces. Jake and Dinos however are unmoved by the artistic interpretation of their produce.
The Rape of Creativity
One of the most famous exhibitions was at Modern Art Oxford called The Rape of Creativity in which the brothers bought a costly set of Goya’s celebrated prints and systematically defaced them. Francisco Goya referred to his set of 80 etchings as “Disasters of War” which Jake and Dinos promptly rechristened “Insult to Injury”. The BBC at the time described the exhibition as “Drawings of mutant Ronald McDonalds, a bronze sculpture of a painting showing a sad-faced Hitler in clown make-up and a major installation featuring a knackered old caravan and fake dog turds.” The Daily Telegraph commented that the brothers had “managed to raise the hackles of art historians by violating something much more sacred to the art world than the human body – another work of art.” The limited edition, signed etching (number 41 of 100) that we have at deepspacegallery is from this exhibition. It is titled ‘The Rape of Creativity at the Museum of Post-Modern Art Oxford by Those Nice’. We also house several of their books (signed by them) in the artistbookarts collection at deepspaceworks.
The Turner Prize
Jake and Dinos Chapman were nominated for the Turner Prize. Their exhibit for this award comprised of “Insult to Injury” and some new works that had direct context and reference to their previous work “Great Deeds against the Dead” which showed three corpses hanging form a tree with dismemberments. The new works “Sex” and “Death” show similar scenes but with a much more decayed state and a cast of bronze painted to look like plastic.
The brothers have taken subject matter abhorrent to most people called it art. The critics and collectors have revered the brother’s work and made it iconic and valuable. There is no doubt that these Cheltenham boys hold the world of art in their thrall. They are currently working on separate projects so it will be interesting to see their solo efforts.
Call in to see us at deepspaceworks for more information on Jake and Dinos Chapman, to view our etching, and look at some of the signed art books we have in stock about the Chapmans. We look forward to welcoming you.