Jake & Dinos Chapman Essay

1244 words - 5 pages

Within the Chapman’s portfolio violence, abjection and fetishism combine to form an aesthetic immersed in taboo. Their abrasive imagery is deviously employed as a constructive means to overwhelm the viewer’s emotions while provoking a sense of shared existence. In spotlighting the communal fascination with grotesque subject matter, a deeper inspection of the mind occurs, thus showing an intuitive take on transgression. A deviant act, however small it may be, entices an individual to step outside the strict parameters of manufactured law, causing a euphoric feeling to resonate from within. At the same time this act creates an appalling sensation due to prescribed morality. This paradoxical effect stems from the very nature of prohibition, which denotes that its very existence cannot be conceived without an initial violation. The Chapman brothers feverishly explore the characteristics of humanistic defilement and apply their observations with complimentary media. While parasitically drawing from Goya’s lineage, Jake and Dinos create etchings and sculptures that also relate to Hans Belmar and Duane Hanson. These iconic predecessors are deployed as defensive structures, firmly established in antiquity, that lend aesthetics and concept to a shocking take on the human condition.

A clear and decisive canonic defense can be made between the themes of Francisco de Goya and Jake and Dinos Chapman. Their cemented relationship is naively based in shocking, nihilistic imagery that reflects the timeless atrocities of war. The intent of Goya’s Hazana con Muertos series utilizes refined chiaroscuro and a depth of symbolic icons to communicate the gruesome treatment of his people. Intentionally using printmaking as a tool for mass production demanded widespread attention for his political statement. In the early 1990’s, Jake and Dinos chose to re-create Disasters of War in its entirety. Every etching was purchased with the intent of remodeling and defacing their structure. Blatant plagiarism, caricaturized repetition and schematic dismemberment in the Chapman’s attempts caused Goya’s etchings to lose their sublimated quality. The intelligent media and aesthetic decisions made by the master-printer began to swiftly unravel. Taking their place were contorted figures brutally castrated and maimed in scenes that teetered on the edge of insanity. The emotional quality involved in the figure’s actions and makeup undercuts the formal hierarchy of social commentary while delivering primal rage as a bastardized answer. From the exposure of grotesque imagery a moral lens is crafted, allowing the public to disassemble information, weighing its’ obscene nature against the overall conceptual meaning. In general, if there is a risk of offending morality with imagery then various effects are dispensed to coerce justifiable public acceptance. Such tools come in the form of ridicule, wit, irony, or sarcasm. The Chapman’s intentions strike these forms from their planned,...

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