Jake Chapman: Don’t Take Children To Art Galleries They’re Not Human Yet

Turner Prize nominated artist Jake Chapman has said that taking children to art galleries is a “total waste of time”.

In an interview in the Independent newspaper he stated parents were “arrogant” for thinking their children could understand artists like Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock. Standing a child in front of a Pollock work is “like saying… it’s as moronic as a child”, said Chapman, adding “children are not human yet”. He also said that comparing the “simplicity” of Matisse’s work to a child’s painting was “ridiculous”. “There is no connection… Anyone who says there is, is less than a village idiot.” Referring to Pablo Picasso’s statement that it took him “four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”, Chapman added: “It’s like saying a child will understand a Cubist painting because a Cubist painting is childlike… There’s no connection.” He also stated; “Children are not human yet”

The Chapmans began collaborating in the early 1990s and first gained attention for their work Disasters of War, a three-dimensional  recreation of Goya’s series of etchings of the same name, for which they reconstructed Goya’s scenes of brutal violence using miniature plastic figurines that they carefully reshaped and painted by hand. Goya, and the Disasters of War particularly, have remained a continued presence in the Chapmans’s work. In 2003, they famously acquired a set of Goya’s etchings and altered them, painting clown and cartoon heads over the original faces of the figures.

Their large Hell landscapes, such as Hell (2000) and The Sum of All Evil (2012-13), are at once monumental in scale and minutely detailed. These apocalyptic landscapes, teeming with miniature figures, depict scenes of excessive brutality involving Nazi soldiers and, in more recent works, McDonald’s characters. The grotesque and often surreal violence of the scenes is offset by the overwhelming detail and painstaking labour evident in these and many of the Chapmans’s works.

Photo: Thea Robinson © Artlyst 2014

Watch Vine Of The Chapmans’ Serpentine Exhibition Here

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