So Much For Brotherly Love: Jake Chapman Splits From Brother Dinos to Forge a Solo Career With New London Show
Noel and Liam Gallagher have nothing on the YBA artists.
The U.K. artist Jake Chapman, who for decades has created work with his brother Dinos, has announced he is going it alone. Chapman started his solo career last night during London Gallery Weekend with the new exhibition, “Me, Myself and Eye”, at Mayfair non-profit space Paradise Row.
“We are thrilled, honored, flattered and all the other lovely adjectives you can think of to be hosting Jake’s first solo outing,” Nick Hackworth, the curator at Paradise Row, told Artnet News. “The work is as conceptually acute, misanthropically biting and funny as ever. Rare qualities in our current cultural landscape.”
The Chapman Brothers have loomed large in the London contemporary art world since arriving on the scene in the 1990s as members of an emerging movement of Young British Artists (YBAs). Beloved fodder for the British tabloids for their iconoclastic art and mocking attitude, the brothers became cultural celebrities with highly successful international art careers.
Through challenging works like Disasters of War (1993), which turned Goya’s famous series of etchings into three-dimensional tableaus of cheap plastic toys, the Chapmans could always be relied upon to shock and raise questions about what the experience of viewing art should be. Now, after three decades working together, Jake has decided to make art alone.
“It’s difficult arguing with yourself,” Chapman told Artnet News over email, about heading to the studio without his brother this morning. The artist also promised “more shows and work in the very near future.”
As with many family relationships, it seems the brothers had a hard time working together. “Nothing about our practice was amicable,” Chapman told The Guardian ahead of the show. “It was never a love-in. It was always tinged with a certain seething disdain for each other, so I guess at some point that reached critical mass, and we decided to go our separate ways.”
Jake’s work at Paradise Row, however, is not a huge departure from the brothers’ previous collaborations, taking historical motifs and adding a conceptual twist, such as The Chapman Family Collection (2002). This time, Jake is pairing elements of classical African art and carved wooden figures that evoke early English paganism with banners that riff on the messaging of climate activist groups like Extinction Rebellion.
The cynicism audiences have come to expect is there, as is the irreverence. And there is an almost leering sense of humor found in the garish fabric works, which are stitched with smilie faces and the words “EXTINCTION” and “ANNIHILATION”, in variations of right-side-up and upside-down.
A glance at Dinos’s Instagram page shows that he has also been working on solo material, and had uploaded some ghoulish, highly detailed drawings and watercolors. We can only wonder if this means a show from the other half of the Chapman Brothers is coming soon. Or if this split is just another prank by the mischievous siblings.
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