‘We're making work that contradicts the idea that art is inherently good and based on idealism.’
Jake Chapman in conversation with Sarah Kent.
White Cube Hong Kong is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by British artists Jake & Dinos
Chapman. This is the first exhibition of the artists’ work in China and will feature a major new 'Hell'
installation, a group of single dioramas and a new series of ‘reworked’ paintings.
The Chapmans make work that examines cultural and historical stereotypes, using acerbic and surreal
humour to question the status quo of hegemonic iconographies. They have described their practice as a
way of establishing ‘how and whether we are allowed, or able, to show moral views’ and this exhibition
addresses such subjects, challenging collective fears and anxieties through a selection of highly
confrontational and culturally dislocating works.
Monumental in scope and minute in detail, The Sum of all Evil (2012-13) occupies the entire ground floor of
the gallery and is the most densely imagined diorama installation that the artists have produced to date.
The fourth in a series of ‘Hell’ landscapes – the first and most well known of which, Hell (1999), was
destroyed in a warehouse fire – the work features a multitude of intricately modelled Nazi soldiers, along
with various characters from the fast food chain McDonald's, committing violent, abhorrent acts set amid
an apocalyptic landscape within four glass vitrines. Darkly humorous, The Sum of all Evil, as its title
suggests, is imaginative rather than descriptive: a summation of all the worst possible 'evils', violence runs
amok in a trans-historical and a-temporal arena.
The first floor gallery features four new diorama sculptures which expand on the themes from The Sum of
all Evil. In one vitrine, the instantly recognizable, bathetic character of Ronald McDonald is depicted as a
melancholic fisherman on a crumbling jetty, his legs peacefully dangling over a lake thickly tangled with
dead bodies. In another, a burnt out McDonald’s restaurant appears like a relic of contemporary
consumerism, a ghostly reminder of its once ubiquitous global presence.
The exhibition will also include a series of found paintings that the artists have in their words: ‘reworked
and improved’. Painted originally by unknown artists, the paintings are either religious in theme or
portraits where their defacement is nonetheless subversive, bringing to mind questions of hierarchy, value
and context in much the same way as their previous, transgressive reworking of Goya's famous
'Disasters of War' etchings did in the work Insult to Injury (2003).
Jake Chapman was born in 1966 in Cheltenham, Dinos Chapman in 1962 in London. They live and work in
London. They have exhibited extensively, including solo shows at Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev (2013); The State
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2012); Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, Italy (2010); Hastings
Museum, UK (2009); Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover (2008); Tate Britain, London (2007); Tate Liverpool
(2006); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2005); Museum Kunst Palast Düsseldorf (2003); Modern Art Oxford (2003) and
PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2000). Group exhibitions include The 1st Kiev International
Biennale (2012); the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); Meadows Museum, Texas (2010); ‘Rude Britannia’,
Tate Britain (2010); Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (2010); Hareng Saur: Ensor and Contemporary Art, S.M.A.K,
Ghent (2010); National Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2009); Kunstverein Hamburg (2009); British
Museum, London (2009); Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille (2008); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2008); ICA,
London (2008); ‘Summer Exhibition’, Annenberg Courtyard, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007); ARS
06, Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA, Helsinki (2006) and Turner Prize, Tate Britain (2003). In August
2013 the Chapman brothers will have a solo exhibition at the Song Eun Art Space, Korea.