‘Come and See‘, the exhibition at Serpentine Sackler centre in Kensington Gardens, we went to see. We walked from Hyde Park to Kensington and somehow got lost, we had to climb over a fence…I was wearing a skirt, but it was cool yar.
As you approach you see the Magazine restaurant’s transparent walls, like a huge bubble attached to the side. As soon as we went in, I saw this guy looking at me:
Apparently kids love them. Klu Klax Klan figurines wearing rainbow socks and Birkenstocks.
Laura Cumming at the Observer says, ‘Squeeze past the first of these hoods and you scarcely heed the second. They cancel each other out.’ I found them continuously shocking though. Eerily I kept feeling there were real people underneath their robes.
So that was one element. Another element was the hellscapes. Strange mix of McDonald signs, Nazi soldiers, the river Styx…I especially liked the burger man, kind of like spot Wally:
There were many other elements, it being a retrospective of their work. I liked the Goya rip offs, disturbingly titled, One day you will no longer be loved. So what is with these guys! Let’s wiki them: ‘Their subject matter is often deliberately shocking, including, in 2008, a series of works that appropriated original watercolours by Adolf Hitler…the Chapmen live in Filkins, Oxfordshire, in a Victorian farmhouse which was restored by architects Waugh Thistleton, it includes guest accommodation and an open-plan kitchen, dining area and a heated swimming pool “filled with natural well water.”‘
Thank you Wikipedia. Looking at a review of the Hitler watercolours: ‘The Chapmans inhabit a fetid dead-end…which is it, boys – are you clowns, or monsters?’
The feeling I get for their work reminds me a bit of how I feel about some books, staying morally distant from the action of the protagonist, the plot not delivering any kind of judgement on the actions.
A lot of reviews seem pretty disliking the Chapman’s. Agree or disagree? I’m not sure yet…quote for the road:
‘The Chapmans’ disfiguring of portraits could only happen in a cynical moneyed art world that has no soul.’ Jonathon Jones