Jake and Dinos Chapman & John Currin

Jake & Dinos Chapman, John Currin
January 18 - April 1, 2007
Curator: David Neuman

John Currin

John Currin, born 1962, lives and works in the USA. In 2003, his retrospective toured the MOCA, Chicago, the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the same year.

John Currin’s paintings are figurative and technically skilful, focusing on the issues of composition and lines. His style is often compared to that of painters such as Courbet, Manet and Picabia, but frequent references are also made to the anonymous practitioners of kitsch art. Although he takes his subject matter from art history, borrowing poses or appearances, his compositions just as often echo images from advertising. His imagery is puzzling and irritating. One series of paintings depicts lightly-dressed young women, another ageing women, women in bed, and he has also painted stereotypical pictures of homosexual men. His images are clichés. Currin describes the cliché as a recurring truth and says, “I’d rather that my work be truly a cliché than a critique of clichés. Ultimately, I think that what I do is find a cliché and try to believe in it, try to get to where I won’t laugh at it.”

More about the artist

Jake & Dinos Chapman

Jake Chapman was born in 1966. He lives and works in the UK, as does his brother, Dinos Chapman, born 1962. They participated in the legendary Sensation exhibition in 1997, which toured from London to Berlin and New York. In 2003, they won the Turner Prize.

Jake & Dinos Chapman Disasters of War, 1999 refers to Goya’s work Los Desastres de la Guerra (1810-1820). The later is a series of etchings illustrating the invasion of Spain and the atrocities that Napoleon’s army committed against the people, and the farmers’ assaults on the soldiers. These pictures are often referred to as the first depictions of war without a romanticising note. They are violent and frightening images. In their 83 pages portfolio the Chapmans have added to the original’s subject matter as well as mixed images of watchtowers, barbed wire and chimneys with elements of childish humour. The Chapman brothers claim to have a fascination for representation of that which cannot be portrayed. Commenting on their works, they say that they have succeeded when… “they achieve the position of reducing the viewer to a state of absolute moral panic… they’re completely troublesome objects”.

More about the artist