Design & Living / Jefferson Hack's Question Air

Jake Chapman

For the past year, Jake and Dinos have been working in separate studios to produce a series of works in isolation from each other, and only in the staging of this show will each become aware of what the other has done. So in the form of the show,

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Jake and Dinos Chapman
Jake and Dinos ChapmanPhotography by Johnnie Shand Kydd

Iakovos “Jake” Chapman is one half of the English art duo often known as the Chapman Brothers with his sibling Konstantinos “Dinos” Chapman. Renowned for their vulgar subject matter that simultaneously repulses and attracts – once cited as “sore-eyed scopophiliciac oxymorons” – they have been collaborating since their graduation from the Royal College of Art in 1990. Questioning politics, religion and morality through searing wit and energy, the Chapman’s work crosses print, sculpture and installation. Whether it affixing penises on the faces of child mannequins, carving pseudo-ethnographic sculptures with McDonald’s imagery, defacing Goya prints or recreating miniature scenes of Nazi soldiers performing atrocities, the pair have frequently dealt with provocative and controversial issues. Nearly two decades (and a Turner prize nomination) since they burst onto the art scene as a duo, unlike Gilbert & George for whom Jake and Dinos worked at times as studio assistants, their practice is not one of “singular duality,” and they have frequently debated, argued and on occasion fought over creative and cultural ideas. This Thursday instead of the Jake and Dinos Chapman show that we would expect; the White Cube Gallery are exhibiting Jake or Dinos Chapman. For the past year, Jake and Dinos have been working in separate studios to produce a series of works in isolation from each other, and only in the staging of this show will each become aware of what the other has done. So in the form of the show, instead of addressing the two as a single entity, Jefferson Hack turns his questionnaire to Jake Chapman.

What are you thinking of right now?
I'm wondering why earthworms come to the surface when it rains.

What makes you laugh?
Knock knock. Who's there? Ha ha ha ha.

What makes you cry?
Sad films. Animal cruelty. Poverty. Tragedy. Greed. Exploitation. Onions.

What do you consider to be the greatest invention?
Firelighters.

Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?
Radio 4. Know thine enemy...

Where do you feel most at home?
At home.

Where are you right now?
At home.

What is your proudest achievement in work?
Writing books that nobody reads – because although it's a lost cause I'm still compelled to do it. For some reason I'm proud of that, and yet when I read these very words back I feel vaguely idiotic – just how I feel when writing. So yes, my proudest achievement in work is writing books that nobody reads. I'm glad I cleared that up.

What is your proudest achievement in life?
Not dying yet.

What do you most dislike about contemporary culture?
Dinos said that when he hears the word 'culture' he reaches for his lager. I'd settle for a Lucozade because it aids recovery.

What do you most like about the age we live in?
I don't much care for the age we live in because it's taking forever.

At what points do life and work intersect?
At all points. Life is hard work.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Don't expect too much – or at least act surprised.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Snowboarding with my wife Rosemary who seduced me onto a black run before revealing her skiing skills whilst I fractured my skull, knocked myself out and suffered total amnesia. I regained my memory in a French hospital after my friend David Falconer explained on the telephone how I'd won the Turner prize.

Recommend a book or poem that has changed your perspective on life?
The Bible – the greatest cul-de-sac ever written.

What is your earliest childhood memory?
A doctor slapping my arse so hard I shrieked.

What’s the most important relationship in your life?
Left to right, right to left, left, right, left, right. Turn left, then right past the petrol station and you're home.

What’s the most romantic action you’ve taken?
Put the plates inside the dishwasher at a jaunty angle.

What’s the most spiritual action you’ve taken?
Yoga. It was a disaster. Dyslexic goya.

If you could wish for one change in the world what would it be?
Become flat again, spin faster, be nicer, whatever.

Jake or Dinos Chapman runs July 15 – September 17 at White Cube Mason's Yard and Hoxton Square

Introduction by Lucia Davies

 

Lucia Davies is the AnOther Editorial Assistant and a regular contributor to Dazed Digital. She has also contributed to titles that include Dazed & Confused and Twin.

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