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Hell

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Children who visit the gallery will get some protection from the Chapmans' more grotesque imaginings. "We're scatter-hanging the gallery," explains curator Selina Levinson, "so we can put the most upsetting images higher up." How does Jake feel about this cunning if sanitising hang? "In this case we have been relaxed about it. We have to be respectful of [the gallery's] thoughts about what the public and the trustees will find acceptable."

Because Goya was the first artist to reveal the gross face of war stripped of all chivalry, romance and idealism, because he captured something quintessential about modern war, all succeeding generations of artists have seen war through his eyes: they have recognised in the Disasters of War a template for their own nightmares. References to the pervasiveness of brand names, consumerism, and globalization feature in much of the Chapmans's work. Sometimes this is overt as in The Chapman Family Collection (2002), in which Ronald McDonald is presented as an ancient deity, or more subtle such as the inclusion of Nike trainers in many of their sculptural works involving child mannequins. Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you. The message that the Chapmans have taken from Goya is that today we’re still living in the midst of violence – just turn on the TV news. It’s mean to make us think about the senselessness and confusion of war.” In 2003 the Chapmans held a show at Modern Art Oxford called The Rape of Creativity. At this they displayed a range of pieces including Insult to Injury, a series of original etchings by Goya which they "rectified" by adding clown and puppy heads to all the victims depicted. The pair received a 2003 Turner Prize nomination (Britain's foremost contemporary art award) for their work. Their Turner Prize exhibit included Insult to Injury alongside new works Sex I, a sculpture of decaying and dismembered corpses hanging from a tree and Death, a bronze statue of two sex dolls painted to look like plastic. Although the two were beaten by Grayson Perry, they did win the Charles Wollaston Award for the most distinguished work in the Royal Academy summer exhibition the same year.Martin Maloney, 'The Chapman Bros.: When will I be Famous', Flash Art, no.186, Jan.-Feb. 1996, pp.64-7, reproduced (colour, detail) p.67

Unholy Libel: Six Feet Under; exhibition catalogue, Gagosian Gallery, New York 1997, reproduced (colour) fig.xvii [pp.98-9]It’s] a way of gouging out something that has kind of been censored by a complacent notion of a moral reading. The individual works draw on a range of sources, one of the carvings, for instance, mimics Constantin Brancusi's Endless Column (1938), but here it is topped by a red-haired mask of Ronald McDonald. This can be interpreted as a comment on Modernism's appropriation of so-called "primitive'" art. As with all the Chapmans's works, it is full of contradictions and the installation can be interpreted in a number of ways - for example it can be read as a critique of the display of ethnographic items as aesthetic objects rather than pieces imbued with social and historical meaning. In a wider sense it can also be seen as a criticism of colonialism and globalization, although this could be an over-simplification as the brothers have declared that the world is "a shitty place in which capitalism and the production of art are not separated".



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