Jake and Dinos Chapman
The Blind Leading the Blind / Slepý vede slepého
Galerie Rudolfinum
Alšovo nábřeží 12
CZ 110 01 Praha 1
T +420 227 059 205
galerie@rudolfinum.org
http://www.galerierudolfinum.cz

PRAGUE |  Galerie Rudolfinum is pleased to present an solo exhibition by leading British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman entitled “The Blind Leading the Blind.” The exhibition, which presents an overview of works created from the 1990s to the present day, is the largest-ever exhibition by these two artists in Central Europe.

“The Prague exhibition of the Chapman brothers is unique in that it presents older works in a new context, meaning that their new installation offers the possibility of creating a new point of view and the opportunity for new interpretations,” says curator Otto M. Urban.

In five thematic units divided up into the various exhibition rooms, the exhibition presents sculptures, objects, paintings, drawings, and etchings. In these installations, sculptures, paintings, and drawings, the Chapman brothers use cynical and sarcastic humor to call attention to today’s depraved political, social, religious, and moral state of affairs.

War
In terms of subject matter, the various cycles touch on themes that the Chapman brothers have been working with since the beginning of their artistic career. One fundamental influence in their work is their inspiration by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, and the exhibition presents the brothers’ 83 etchings of bold and distinctive variations on Goya’s famous cycle “The Disasters of War.”

Jake and Dinos Chapman's "Disasters of War" (1999)
Jake and Dinos Chapman’s “Disasters of War” (1999)

Mutant Mannequins
One important element in their art, which the Chapmans have been working with since the 1990s, is the “study” of mutant mannequins, genetically mutated figures through which they explore the boundaries of generally accepted morality and try to provoke a change in the perception of ingrained gender and sexual stereotypes. At the Galerie Rudolfinum, this series of works is represented by libidinal objects of Siamese beings and figures of children with distinctive phallic and other symbols on their faces.

Death, 2003, Painted bronze, © Jake and Dinos Chapman. Olbricht Collection
Death, 2003, Painted bronze, © Jake and Dinos Chapman. Olbricht Collection

Nazism and fascism
Another important theme in the art of the Chapman brothers is Nazism and fascism. The cycle exhibited at the Rudolfinum offers a precipitous look at the transhistorical concept of “absolute evil” symbolized by the Nazis and the horrors of the Holocaust. The monumental installation consisting of two dozen Nazi figures was specially adapted for the needs of the Galerie Rudolfinum.

Fucking Dinosaurs, 2011, Painted steel, clothed mannequins, taxidermied birds and painted bronze, © Jake and Dinos Chapman, Courtesy White Cub
Fucking Dinosaurs, 2011, Painted steel, clothed mannequins, taxidermied birds and painted bronze, © Jake and Dinos Chapman, Courtesy White Cub

Commodity Fetishes
The Prague exhibition also features a sarcastic excursion into the anthropological world of fetishes in contemporary society, represented by bronze sculptures resembling a collection of African art, in which we discover the corporate logos of fast-food restaurant chains.

Just as Bataille described his relationship to aboriginal rituals in the hope that he might, if only for a moment, return modern society the symbolic power that it lost long ago, so too — in their cycle The Chapman Family Collection — do the Chapman brothers work in their own unique way with similar cultural-anthropological themes. In so doing, they call into question their validity and, above all, their topicality.

This set of 11 bronze sculptures reminiscent of African fetishes contains motifs based on the corporate symbols of the global fast-food giant McDonald’s. For the Prague exhibition, each work was labeled with an eight-digit number representing a functioning telephone number to a selected McDonald’s in Prague.

Everything is further amplified by the manner in which the work has been installed and illuminated. The viewer does not see merely a “collection” of African art, but also consumes the images of French fries and hamburgers found on these objects. Some of the objects are references to the work of other artists, such as Constantin Brancusi’s The Column of the Infinite from 1938, which the Chapmans have assigned the head of Ronald McDonald, whose uniform clown grimace they place on the level of religious rite. In this context, the questions of “commodity fetishism” evoked by the Chapman brothers are less a criticism of globalized consumer society than a sarcastic analysis of its current state.

Jake and Dinos Chapman "Chapman Family Collection"
Jake and Dinos Chapman “Chapman Family Collection”

Not even intimate aspect of life such as sex and death are taboo for the Chapmans, whose objects with these titles uniformly evoke shocked reactions. The collection of sculptures is supplemented by a series of drawings.

IF YOU GO

Jake and Dinos Chapman, The Blind Leading the Blind / Slepý vede slepého
Galerie Rudolfinum

Alšovo nábřeží 12
CZ 110 01 Praha 1
T +420 227 059 205
galerie@rudolfinum.org
http://www.galerierudolfinum.cz

Opening hours:
Tue – Wed, Fri – Sun : 10am–6pm
Thu: 10am–8pm
Monday closed

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