A work of art by the Turner Prize nominated artists Jake and Dinos Chapman has been removed from an art exhibition at the Maxxi Gallery in Rome after a children’s rights group complained to the president of the gallery.
Piggyback, a life-size painted bronze sculpture depicts two nude young girls engaged in a piggyback ride. One of the girls has a phallus protruding from her mouth. Like many of the Chapman Brothers works it is disturbing and Controversial.
The Rights of the Child Group who made the protest, declared the piece unfit for public display and lobbied for its removal. Maxxi president, Antonio Marziale, denied attacking artistic expression, insisting it wanted the sculpture removed “to avoid promoting depictions with a clear paedo-pornographic context behind the art”. He also said he wanted to make sure the work does not go back on public display.”Everyone must agree to promote a culture which is opposed to paedophilia without provocations of any kind,” he said.”And for this reason we are seeking guarantees that the alleged artwork will never be on show again”. However Maxxi director, Anna Mattirolo, defended the Chapmans and their work and called for tolerance and freedom of expression.
The sculpture created in 1997 is no doubt explicit and provocative. The work of art was scheduled to be on display at the Gallery until December.
Jake and Dinos Chapman live and work in London. As part of the duo The Chapman Brothers, they have exhibited extensively. They officially announced their working collaboration in November 1992 by publishing their anti-aesthetic manifesto. “We Are Artists” which was stenciled in brown paint and smeared on a wall at the ICA Gallery London.
They attended the Royal College of Art together 1988-90 and it is documented that they worked as assistants to Gilbert and George.The artistic duo belong to the so-called Young British artists (YBA) and have been creating their radical sculptures using plastic mannequins and model making since 1993. They were shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2003.The Charles Wollaston award in 2003 was their first major art prize. A number of the Chapman brothers’best-known works were included in the Royal Academy’s controversial, Sensation exhibition.The Chapman Brothers reference Auguste Rodin, William Blake and Nicolas Poussin. Much of their work is in bronze painted to look like plastic.
Photo: © Artlyst 2012