Jake & Dinos Chapman at ARTER in Istanbul
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On view from 10 February to 7 May 2017, Arter presents the first solo exhibition of Jake & Dinos Chapman in Turkey titled 'In the Realm of the Senseless'. Curated by Nick Hackworth, the exhibition brings together a number of works from iconic series including 'Hell', 'The Chapman Family Collection' and 'One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved', alongside new and rarely seen works. The show presents an overview of the Chapmans' virulently pessimistic art and thought. Deploying humour and a perverse semiotics to undercut and satirise many of the unthinking beliefs that animate contemporary culture, the Chapmans' is amongst the most challenging of contemporary art practices.
The exhibition begins on the ground floor in spectacular fashion by uniting more works than have ever been shown together before from the Hell series, including the major piece, 'The Sum of All Evil'. Absurd, surreal and painstakingly detailed, the dioramas comprise of thousands of model Nazi soldiers engaged in scenes of orgiastic violence alongside other figures familiar from the Chapmans' visual universe, such as Hitler and Ronald McDonald. Since 2000 when the original 'Hell' work was completed (it subsequently was burnt in a fire in a London art storage facility), the series has been controversial, being serially misread both as profoundly engaged war art and as a disgraceful trivialization of violence. As the artists point out it takes a certain degree of hysteria and myopia to attach such ponderous meanings to the work itself. Two other large works from the series, 'Unhappy Feet' and 'Altered Towers', complete the floor.
Arter's first floor amounts to a pastiche of the idea of retrospective shows with its centrepiece 'SHITROSPECTIVE' and the duo's first ever neon work, a new iteration of the brothers' first collaborative piece 'We Are Artists', made in 1991. Demonstrating the artists' stated desire to create work of 'zero cultural value' and their tactic of repeatedly recycling the same content, 'SHITROSPECTIVE' comprises of miniature versions of key works from their career, 'Fuckfaces', 'Sex', 'Übermensch' and 'Little Death Machine' – replicated in cardboard and mounted on pedestals. Known as one of the iconic works of the Chapmans, 'Insult to Injury' from the series of 'The Disasters of War' is hosted on the first floor of the exhibition. The show also includes a collection of archival works from 1971–2013, including some rare Chapman juvenilia.
Taking its cue from the Chapmans' recent show 'Come and See' at The Serpentine Gallery, London, the curation of the top floor of the exhibition takes aim at the idealised 'white cube' gallery space and elegant, well-mannered exhibitions. Resembling a show put together from a ransacked storage room the floor will be chaotic and over-stuffed, filled with myriad 2-D and sculptural works.