Artist Jake Chapman, on Taking up Yoga

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Jake is wearing an oversized cotton and wool trench coat by Maison Margiela, His own T-shirtPhotography by Senta Simond, Styling by Nell Kalonji

“It’s sharpening my cynicism,” he tells his brother Dinos, in the pages of AnOther Magazine A/W18

“I started doing yoga about a month ago – I’m an absolute theological convert. You see parts of your body you’ve never seen before, which is quite nice after 51 years. I’ve been doing Goya for about 25 years, so it was about time I addressed the other – I’ve gone from disasters of Goya to disasters of ‘yoGa’. They’re both excruciatingly painful. And I am compelled by the fact that behind the prostrate praying hand of someone as devout as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is a simple psychopath. I mean, I do like the connections between yoga and psychopathology – it’s sharpening my cynicism, because there’s nothing better than foregrounding your own pessimism by physical demonstration. It’s pointless being pessimistic about other people and reserving some position of divine serenity for yourself. You’ve got to get really contorted and twisted in your cynicism. And yoga is the perfect mechanism for that because I get really contorted and twisted. I like the transcendent finale at the end where you’re lying on the floor, prone to the weight of the world, and I lie there thinking about awful, horrible, terrible things.”

I met Jake when he was born, but the thing is, we didn’t really talk to each other until we ended up at the Royal College of Art at the same time due to a series of strange events. That’s when the conversation, and the work, began. That’s the point at which we met, really. Today, I live in LA; he’s in the Cotswolds, but we stopped holding hands when we were working a long time ago. The idea of us working together was to try to damage the idea of the solo hero artist against the world, and I think sometimes, stasis, or having a procedure, is reductive. But Jake was always going to do yoga. He is exactly what he is horrifed by, and terrified of being. Over here in the epicentre of happy-clappy yoga, I’m hiding in plain sight.

Make-up: Jenny Coombs at Streeters London using MAC. Photographic assistant: Phil Hewitt. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Camila Paiva and Georgina Craig. Make-up assistant: Kimie Yasiro

This story originally featured in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale internationally now.