Jake and Dinos Chapman

White Cube | Bermondsey

Is there any mileage left in the idea of art as an oppositional practice, a set of moves made against the prevailing culture and its norms from outside its territory? For the Chapman brothers the answer would appear to be no. Why bother to fake an ideological purity when such a thing is an irrelevant impossibility anyway? Their game, rather, is to welcome the apparent inescapability of their situation and to juggle truisms until the viewer becomes disoriented by their dexterousness. You think contemporary art is a con, that it makes pretentious use of half-understood theories, and is deliberately outrageous and silly? OK, we’ll give you some of that. You think that real art is about skill, hard work, and serious engagement with issues? OK, we’ll give you lots of that, too. It’s never either/or with them. It’s always both/and, and then something else besides.

The smell was perfect. Stuck

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