January 10, 2007

Jake and Dinos Chapman & John Currin


January 18 – April 1, 2007

Curator: David Neuman

The first exhibition of the year combines works by contemporary artists who have worked in traditional techniques – printmaking. John Currin’s etchings are based on his own paintings over a ten-year period, paintings that are often described as both historical and bizarre. The Chapman brothers starting point is one of the most prestigious works in art history, Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra (1810-1820). They have added added to Goya’s subject matter as well as combined imagery from contemporary world conflicts and surrealism.

John Currin’s 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. His paintings are figurative and technically skilful. 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 are portraits of lightly-dressed young women, another ageing women he has also painted stereotypical pictures of homosexual men. His images are clichés. Currin describes the cliché as a recurring truth:

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.

Jake and Dinos Chapman’s Disasters of War (1999) refers to Goya’s work with the same title, Los Desastres de la Guerra. The latter 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 mentioned 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.

About the artists:

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.

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.

For press inquiries please contact:

Tove Schalin, exhibition coordinator: schalin@magasin3.com, +46 8 545 680 44