Part #1, Hoxton Square, Jake?
Entering an exhibition for the first time is like a ritual; we cruise around the room in search for mellow curves or shiny varnishes. As time has passed since the infamous brothers of Art reopened the gates of hell and summon their demons in London. Masters of discord, Jake and Dinos attack on cherished beliefs, ethic and reason and have since set the tone: the Chapmans are conflict and this time it’s double-trouble since each share the tally – one in Hoxton and one at Mason Yard. So Jake or Dinos. The Whitecube gallery reeks of hostile suspense.
Jake or Dinos Chapman exhibition opens on The Nature of Particles (2011), seven white plinths are topped with bronze sculptures of collected elements: cardboard, pieces of broken wood and different statues which some represents african’s deities. All morsels are bunched up together with no attempt to look good. Although, the bronze is painted in great details and echoes the style of hyperrealism painting some objects’ outlines are highlighted by an added white thread supposed to represent a subjective “light”.
As the Chapmans refer to “the temptation to turn them [cardboard sculpture] into proper sculpture” the Brothers are already messing with our understanding of reality: “these are legitimate sculptures” says one, “if you make a sculpture out of cardboard it seems to be less valuable because of the materials.”
Three paintings hang on each of the gallery’s sides: Idiot Idyll (2011), Georg’s House (2011), Georg Paints the Bunny 2011), etc, are composed with dirty greys, soiled greens and filthy blues on top of sepia whites; their abstract/naive style does not invite to interact, their aesthetic is assertive and adds to the surreal atmosphere a cacophonic “Humph”.
Reaching the rear end where a group of static children stand and the final hit comes as cold. I slowly approach one of them…At that point, it is difficult to express the sight I peek at. The White Cube scenery does not exist anymore; dizzy and overwhelmed by the amount of ugly devices used in the room I question reality until rupture point; I am in the middle of a trashy fairy tale.
The Minderwertigkinder – inferior children (NTS) – are dressed in black, hoods on, and their back are turned to the entrance. They face One Rabbit Contemplating the moon (2011) a grimy painting of an extasied cartoon’ish rabbit. The middle of each children’s face is tore apart where a snout, a beak, a trunk bulges out as if in the process of a collective shapeshift. A swastika circled by the message “They Teach Us Nothing” is printed on their jumper – one you can purchased at the entrance.
Up a flight of stairs, one of the Minderwertigkinder – mouse child sits on the ledge of the first floor window. It seems impossible to escape from debilitating dream. Yet, another flight of stairs later and the bleeding face of a skinless virgin mary statue stands, welcoming.
Lit by old lamps, the last display for Jake or Dinos Chapman defaces religion. Three statues are on display, each seconded by a rectangle of wall, cut out from a real scenery. Religious portraits hang behind the mary and jesus plaster and finally, as to enjoy the solemn atmosphere, lights are dimmed and chairs are piled on the side of each chest. One thing changes though; the effigies bleed and the jesus has tentacles going out of its mouth.
Although confusing, all these items interact together and set an interestingly structured environment but the whole picture display an obvious mish-mash of opposing forces, where the meaning of each item has been slightly displaced from its first definition and propelled into our three-dimensional world. Our interest resides in which tools we are given to reconstruct reality. Constrained to write a love poem with a chewed pencil, the Chapmans insist on our analysing and judgmental skills.