16 June 2015

Jake and Dinos Chapman

I've always disliked the Chapman brothers, supposed "artists", and I've never fully understood why, but I might be starting to get a handle on it. My dislike of their "work" was today piqued by an article in The Guardian where they talked about the fire that destroyed one of their pieces, Hell. I ought to leave them alone, just forget about them, but like a painful rotting tooth I can't help but dig about in the hole that is their 'art', causing myself annoyance and anguish in the process. Here, then, is Dinos Chapman talking about the destruction of Hell:

"Jake and I decided beforehand that we were going to make a monstrous failure. It was intentionally unmagnificent and unrewarding. We used the most pathetic way of representing the thing that has most exorcised western civilisation...I’m quite glad the original burnt because it wasn’t very well made. It was clumsy and inaccurate...We would’ve been in the studio for those two years anyway, though. It just so happened that everything we did ended up as one sculpture. We could just as easily have made a perfectly round ball of marble. It wouldn’t have made any difference. There were no breakthrough moments, everything happened slowly. There was no artistic gesture involved, no Pollock-esque flailing about. It was all just laborious, thankless and fairly miserable..I’m quite glad the original burnt because it wasn’t very well made. It was a prototype: we were deliberately not expert, so it was clumsy and inaccurate. As our eyesight fails, our accomplishments have improved. But that just means we’ve got better at something we never wanted to do, something we despise doing. I hate working."

The salient points: 

1. "There was no artistic gesture involved." This didn't, honestly, need to be pointed out - it's very much apparent. 
2. "It was all just laborious, thankless and fairly miserable". Very much like going to one of their exhibitions. 
3. "As our eyesight fails, our accomplishments improved." Yep, I imagine losing your sight is one way of growing to appreciate their work, perhaps the only way. 
4. "I hate working." And the art illustrates this perfectly. 
5. "I'm quite glad the original burnt." You and me both. 

In fact, thinking about it, no. 4 might very well explain why I despair at their work - their own self-loathing is writ so large in their sculptures it infects those who enter their orbit. What remains a mystery now, though, is why anyone ever shows it: if even the artists themselves hate it, why inflict it on an audience? It provokes a response of course - see above - but in much the same way as My Little Pony - three seconds attention and you have the measure of it, there's nothing more to see. 

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