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Jake Chapman and Dinos Chapman are English conceptual artists who focused on working on themes of anatomical and pornographic grotesque. Almost all of their art are exclusive collaborations with each other, as there is not much individual work by any of them. As collaborating artists, their art reflects our current society, as they deal with topics which are recent and socially relevant. Dinos Chapman was born in London while Jake was born in Cheltenham, England. They were raised in Cheltenham but later transferred to Hastings, where they had their early education.
Their love for art got reinforced by attending several art schools, one of which is the University of East London’s Art College in Greengate. Afterwards, they enrolled at the Royal College of Art, honing their skills and talent while they worked as assistants to several artists like Gilbert and George. They started working on collaborations in 1992, where their art pieces were from plastic models or fiberglass mannequins of human figures.
Their works were scenes of torture and disfigurement, three-dimensional figures ranging from small models to life-sized works.
Some of their life-sized works are Great Deeds Against the Dead, and the Zygotic Acceleration, Biogenetic, De-Sublimated Libidinal Model which was showcased at the Sensation Exhibition of 1997. There works on theme of anatomical and pornographic grotesque continued, which later added the use of mannequins of children, showing fused faces and genitals. They have controversial pieces like their sculpture, Hell which was made out of a large number of small Nazi figures formed to the shape of a swastika.
They have also altered other artist’s works, like that of Francisco Goya’s etchings. They also have other pieces which referenced the works of artists like William Blake, Auguste Rodin, and Nicolas Aside from their artworks, Jake Chapman have also published several number of catalogue essays and some art criticisms in his own right, including a book entitled Meatphysics (Juse). The brothers have also collaborated and were commissioned to design a label for Becks beer, along with other limited edition labels by other contemporary artists.
The works by the Chapman brothers have been recognized not only in the country, but also internationally. They have been nominated for various awards in the field, including the Turner Prize in 2003 (Tate. org). Despite the recognition they’re receiving, there are still some criticisms concerning their works, including that of journalist Johann Hari for allegedly adopting an anti-Enlightenment philosophy in their works. The Chapman brothers have works which have political context in them. One of this is that of Nazis and an attribution to the Second World War.
Even though they were born after the war, it was still a lingering issue during those times, which could have influenced them to work on such concepts. Their love for anatomical grotesque can be associated with the horrors of the world war, with many dead bodies around that could inspire their works. As major players of the war, the German Nazis served as a good material for their art. Other political influences can be attributed to relevant social issues as their themes, though most of them are on sex, pornography and the human body.
The works by the Chapman brothers in a way reflects what is happening in the society. In terms of culture, the Chapman brothers’ works have no definite focus. They work on anything they like, since they’re not on the style of their work, but instead they are more of the attitude. According to Dinos Chapman, “we have no signature style; the work is recognizable for its attitude, not its form (Field). ” They have their take on American culture, emphasizing on sex, as well as pornography. This can be seen by some of their nude works which are fused figures of human mannequins.
They have worked on other cultures as well, some of them are in the Chapman Family Collection, which are made up of 34 pseudo-African tribal wood carved totems and masks, though some of these are mixed with other cultural concepts, one example is the tribal wood sculpture holding a McDonalds’ French fries and soft drinks. There are several artists who have influenced Jake and Dinos Chapman in their art. They were able to learn some styles and techniques from the artist duo Gilbert and George, when they were just the duo’s assistants. They also patterned some of their works from the etchings by Francisco Goya.
Their works were usually similar in form, but theirs were more of alterations, adding funny faces, even clown’s nose. They are also noted to have references of the works of other artists. Some of the artists which they had referenced work are of William Blake, Auguste Rodin, and Nicolas Poussin, though most of their ideas can be considered as parodies of the works of other artists. The influence of other artists in Jake and Dinos Chapman’s art were not really very strong, considering that their artworks are contemporary and are very unique compared to other works. They put their ideas into motion, in order to create such pieces.
They as previously stated they don’t really follow any style of any genre; instead they focus on the attitude of their works. It is more output based, rather than being style-conscious. For me, some of the key or representative works by Jake and Dinos Chapman include their first collaborative work, the three-dimensional models of Francisco Goya’s The Disasters of War. These are small sculptures of Goya’s series of drawings, and these figures depict what exactly was drawn. This is a key work by the Chapman brothers because they are able to show what they’re capable of doing.
This requires great skill and talent, as well as patience, considering the details which they put in every scene from the series. This is a real good piece to introduce them to the art society, as well as introduce what themes they are interested in doing. The Chapman brother’s love for anatomical grotesque can be seen in this work, as it featured miniaturized bodies of the people in war, some of whom are brutally dismembered, severed limbs, mutilated heads hanged from trees, and many more. These can be seen as a great number of small sculptures packed into a single art masterpiece.
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