Born in 1966, this British artist who now runs solo, has settled his artistic career along with his brother Dinos, a career that now is about 40 years long.
The Chapman Brothers belong the the Young British Artists Generation, more commonly known as YBA. A group of artists that started their first exhibitions during the late 80’s and that have in common, not a defined style, but they way to express themselves and the use of different unusual medias to provoke and knock out the audience. Some of the artists that brand the YBA are Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas or the Chapman Brothers.
These brothers style has always been controversial, mainly for their antiwar but grotesque imaginary, inspired mostly in Francisco Goya’s “Disasters of War”, which led them to create his own tribute in 1993. A piece that was a three dimensional representation of Goya’s etchings recreated by toy soldiers that is now part of the TATE museum collection.
Their work is not suitable for the thin-skin audience. Works such as “Zygotic Acceleration, Biogenetic” (1995), “Hell”(2000) or “Come and see” (2013) have many fans but also many detractors. It is quite obvious that the first impression may back out but the truth is that all works are perfectly crafted and dig into details. If the viewers can see further than the aesthetic then they will find a speech against violence or brutalism that still are present in our days even though these may seem far to the individual.
Always recurrent to their source of inspiration on the Spanish master Goya, they managed to but a complete and original set of the 83 etchings that form the “Disasters of War”, the last edition printed in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. They reworked and redraw these etchings adding their own characters to the original images. The reception was varied, of course. The argumentative line focused on the idea of art being created by destroying art, which is not something new. Rauschenberg did something similar with a de Kooning work to create his “Erased de Kooning Drawing”. While some critics said these works were absurd and coarse, which stated their lack of talent, the Chapman Brothers won Charles Wollaston Award for the most distinguished work in the Royal Academy in that summer exhibition.
The latest exhibition of Jake Chapman, entitled “Me, Myself and Eye” is a declaration of individuality. Still, the source of inspiration is the same one: Goya, anthropology, parody or conceptualism are the main axis for his narrative.