Jake Chapman, born 1966, Cheltenham, UK, and Dinos Chapman, born in 1962, London, UK, currently lives and works in London.
Jake and Dinos Chapman are among the most significant and best-known British artists of today. The Chapman Brothers have created a unique oeuvre that draws on vast areas of culture, including art history, philosophy, cybernetics and artificial intelligence. The brothers started their collaboration in 1991 and has since been known for their deliberately shocking and controversial subject matter. Some of their most prominent works include 13 original watercolours by Adolf Hitlers modified by the Chapman Brothers, as well as a number of Goya sequels which the Chapmans have also reworked and improved. In working with Hitler’s watercolours, the Chapman Brothers investigated the notion that a work of art can reveal something about a person, and why then the presence of foreboding evil is in no way represented in Hitler’s paintings. They added little rainbows and other such motifs to alter the historical documents to the point where they became theirs rather than history’s: The idea of Hitler turning in his grave because we painted rainbows on his pictures is fantastically pleasurable.
In the reworking of Goya’s sequels Los Caprichos and Disasters of War, the series of works called Like a dog returns to its vomit (2005), the Chapmans drew over, reworked and improved the sequels with Chapman’s own iconography in colour. This might be a reference to the changing values of iconography from religious to capitalist, a Duchampian dialogue about authorship in art and the committing of art-historical sacrilege in the defacement of high-art to, ironically, create high-art.
The artists’ have a sublime attention to details which is especially obvious in their miniaturized apocalyptic landscapes; iconoclastic works of vitrine-encased dioramas. The surreal nightmare of tiny violence in these works is off-set by an extraordinary level of detail. These are dioramas where horrors of war and consumerism are embodied side by side. The works consist of surreal and grotesque universes created as battlegrounds in miniature. The monstrous is painstakingly recreated with black humour and irony in Jake & Dinos Chapman's comic and horror aesthetics. The works combine historical, religious and mythic narratives in an apocalyptic snapshot of the twentieth century.
Dinos Chapman received his BA at Ravensbourne College of Art in 1981 and his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1990. Jake Chapman received his BA at North East London Polytechnic in 1988 and his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1990.
Jake & Dinos Chapman have exhibited internationally at the most prestigious art institutions.