Jake Chapman born 1966 Cheltenham, Dinos Chapman born 1962 London. They live and work in London.
Jake and Dinos Chapman make iconoclastic sculpture, prints and installations that examine, with searing wit and energy, contemporary politics, religion and morality. Working together since their graduation from the Royal College of Art in 1990, the Chapmans first received critical acclaim in 1991 for a diorama sculpture created out of remodelled plastic figurines enacting scenes from Goya’s Disasters of War etchings. Later they took a single scene from the work and meticulously transformed it into a Great Deeds Against the Dead (1994), a life-size tableau of reworked fibreglass mannequins depicting three castrated and mutilated soldiers tied to a tree. Arguably their most ambitious work was Hell (1999), an immense tabletop tableau that was destroyed by fire in 2004. The work was peopled with over 30,000 remodelled, 2-inch-high figures, many in Nazi uniform and performing egregious acts of cruelty. The work combined historical, religious and mythic narratives to present an apocalyptic snapshot of the twentieth-century. The Chapman Family Collection (2002) comprised a group of sculptures that bring to mind the loot from a Victorian explorer’s trophy bag, yet many also portray characters from McDonald’s. The conflation of the exotic fetish and the cheap fast-food giveaway, imperialism and globalisation, created a powerful sense of dislocation. Unholy McTrinity shown in Unholy Truths is from the fictitious Chapman Family Collection. It was described ironically as ‘an embodiment of skillful control that demonstrates that the divine manipulation of spiritual power is one of the principle functions of ethnographic art’, Unholy McTrinity irreverently depicts a dark Golgotha where the hamburger culture of McDonalds replaces the godly as the focus of veneration. The Chapman’s dark, amoral position as artists has consistently questioned the ethical basis of mainstream society and unpicked the dark side of hypocrisy.