Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Jake or Dinos Chapman at both White Cube galleries, London

Posted in Dolls, Erotica, Exhibitions / Openings / Signings, Eyecandy, Historia & Memoria, Horror / Goth, Medicine / Anatomy, Sculpture by Suzanne on July 20th, 2011 | BBC Wikipedia


© Jake & Dinos Chapman, photograph by Tony Kyriacou/Rex Features, courtesy of The Guardian, 2011

[I guess readers have been wondering why I haven't expressed my take on the Chapman Bros' new show yet. Thing is, I haven't even SEEN it yet and the White Cube - having imposed super strict image rules for the double feature - has completely failed to supply me with the login to the press section, so I finally decided to just lift the images off the Guardian.]

One of the few genuinely pleasant things about living in the stink patch that is London is that - although the average annual exhibition schedule is often horrendously boring - there is always bliss in knowing that sooner or later another big Chapman Bros show will hit the White Cube.

And thank fuck, it happened again last Friday. For Jake Or Dinos Chapman, the brothers have been working on their own with their entourages of assistants to form two individual exhibitions - one held at White Cube Mason's Yard and the other one at the Cube's Hoxton Square premises.

The reviews are pretty much unisono good, strangely enough, far from raving though, but interesting to see that no-one really gives a shit about swastikas, iron crosses and Totenköpfe in art when it's the Chapmans. Neither do I. It's difficult to dislike the brothers and as YBA as they are at times, they have an uncanny sense for devilish detailing and comic timing - something that never comes out in press photographs. So if you've never been to a Chapman Bros show, don't even begin to argue with me.


© Jake & Dinos Chapman, photograph by Tony Kyriacou/Rex Features, courtesy of The Guardian, 2011

If I disagree with the arts press on one thing, it's the often raised issue of how oh-so politically clever their installations are. They really aren't. If the pair does get politically active, it's very honest, very down-to-earth, positivistic educational Realpolitik as their almost heart-warming recent Can't Pay Your Fees? We Pay Your Bills! initiative illustrated.

So let's be honest, their installations are actually rather repetitive and banal or maybe people don't really know all that much about politics and their minds are easily flattered by an allusion to something seemingly profound. But does that even matter? No, absolutely not. Their work is exhilarating in its repetitiveness, there is lots of anal in their banal, it's so totally wrong it's way past right and just really wrong again, it is indeed Insult to Injury, to quote one of their earlier shows. Their oeuvre is, simply put, way too metal for one hand. \mm/

When I visited Fucking Hell three years ago (in a time when photographing their work was still okay with White Cube Mason's Yard), I took pictures of the buildings with my zoom and only later discovered some of the intricate details INSIDE the miniature churches, factories, torture chambers, prisons of Fucking Hell. And that's PRECISELY why I love Jake & Dinos. The Chapmans don't just allude to and play with gore, sadism, facism, no, they really actually deliver these things in a grotesquely giddy folly - they put the sun in Endlösung. (Okay, okay, enough with the excruciating wordplays already.)

And that's all before even beginning to analyse the eloquent depths of their humour as Fucking Hell was produced after Hell melted in the Big Saatchi Warehouse Fire (one of my earliest blog posts after moving the domain). It's easy to imagine them shouting "FUCKING HELL!" when they got a phone call about it. The decision to rebuild the thing - better, stronger, more apocalyptic, more offensive than ever - didn't take them long. In a NYT feature from July 2004, Jake declared:

''We'll make it again. It's only art.''

On show: Jul 15 - Sep 17, 2011

Address: White Cube, Hoxton Square and Mason's Yard, London, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7930 5373, email: enquiries@whitecube.com

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM

Dinos not Jake interview | Jake not Dinos interview | Guardian preview

Publications: Jake will publish his third novel titled INTROSPASTIC: From the Blackened Beyond. Dinos will produce a publication of 22 drawings titled They Teach Us Nothing¹.

Artists' website

WurzelForum discussion

¹ ... and here's what they look like:

Also, a great interview with the brothers conducted by CraneTV:


Related articles:

  • May 30, 2008 -- Hell. Revisited.
    Fucking Hell by Jake & Dinos Chapman (detail) | Photo by Ben Gurr/The Times After the Brownlee Brothers and the Brothers Grimm, Jake ("You couldn't fail to see something funny about Hell being ...
  • February 18, 2012 -- Hisaji Hara at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London
    A Study of "Because Cathy taught him what she learnt" by Hisaji Hara, 2010 - click to enlarge I think it must have been the lovely Nana Rapeblossom who first introduced me to Hisaji Hara's work...
  • January 11, 2012 -- Stuart Pearson Wright's "Together in Electric Dreams" at Riflemaker, London
    Dicky by Stuart Pearson Wright, oil on oval canvas, hand-carved frame, 40 x 50cm, 2011 - click to enlarge I remember being two days early to the opening reception of Stuart's previous I Remember ...
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    July 27th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

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