Jake and Dinos Chapman: Insult to Injury

May 01, 2013 - June 29, 2013

“Policing the ‘Disasters’ moral injustices, humanist critique will methodically exorcise Goya’s evil from the semi-automatic stutter that scars each of the eighty copper plates with indelible signs of auto-eroticism – even Goya’s fetishized identity must surrender to the moral framework enclosing the ‘Disasters’ itinerant slippages… It is not violence that initiates the causal mechanism, but, as Nietzsche observes, ‘the translation of reality into a morality’ … the Gothic reclamation of Goyaesque horror is evidence of a rare acerbic wit which deserves profound compliment …”

Excerpt from “Insult to Injury: the Marriage of Reason and Squalor” by Jake Chapman

Yoshii Gallery is pleased to present “Insult to Injury”, the original Francisco de Goya’s ‘Disasters of War’ prints reworked and improved by Jake and Dinos Chapman. The complete set of 80 etchings will be presented in the US for the first time, and it is their first exhibition with the gallery.

Too controversial and unpatriotic to be shown in Goya’s lifetime, the first ever edition of ‘Disasters of War’ was posthumously released in 1863. Enfants terribles of British art, the Chapman brothers acquired one of the few remaining sets of the ‘Disasters of War’ prints in 2001, published directly from Goya’s original plates in 1937, as part of their continuous fascination with Goya’s work.

In their updates to the prints, the Chapman brothers deal with daunting, grotesque, and cruel themes from the Spanish civil war, distilling them into vandalized, victimized snapshots. By changing all the visible faces of victims to heads of clowns and puppies, these imaginary characters of ambiguous origin burst forth in vibrant red, violet and white, and thus emotionally resonate with the rich historic underlayer by Goya. They no longer appear silent or hostile, but rather they invite the divergent, worthwhile discussions that center around them. Each plate still never forfeits its sense of mystery or visceral emotional punch, due to the factual and present characters, which reveal awful, astonishing views of the commonplace. The figures, transformed by idealism and by context, possess cartoon-like qualities and new meanings in their present state. Diverse as characters shown in the work, these humorously recognizable members of the masses are exonerated.

Jake Chapman was born in 1966 and Dinos Chapman in 1962. They both graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1990 and currently live and work in London. The Chapman brothers’ work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent venues internationally, including Chicken, Pinchuk Art Center, Klev (2013); The Hermitage, St. Petersburg (2012); Museo Pino Pascali, Polignano a Mare, Italy (2010); Hastings Museum, UK (2009); Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover (2008); Tate Britain, London (2007); Tate Liverpool (2006); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2005); Modern Art Oxford (2003) and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2000), among others.