Jake and Dinos Chapman, If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be, 2008, two of thirteen reclaimed Adolf Hitler watercolors on paper, dimensions variable.

Jake and Dinos Chapman, If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be, 2008, two of thirteen reclaimed Adolf Hitler watercolors on paper, dimensions variable.

Jake Chapman

Jake and Dinos Chapman, If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be, 2008, two of thirteen reclaimed Adolf Hitler watercolors on paper, dimensions variable.

FROM THE START my brother, Dinos, and I speculated that the media would absorb anything we gave it, that even the most traumatizing image we could produce would ultimately be accommodated through some kind of positivist discourse. No matter how malevolent our art, the receiving side always seems to assign it a use-value so that rather than producing schisms in the network, what we make more often produces a method by which schisms can be closed. For example, for our 2008 project If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy We Would Be, we filled in Hitler’s drawings. You wonder how you could possiby offend someone who spearheaded the murder of millions of people, but we thought adding little hearts and rainbows to his original watercolors would be pretty bad. What we ended up with was criticism—which is to say great interest—from all sides, effectively uniting people who took the dictator to be the most criminal person in the twentieth century with those who venerated him. Both understood the original works to have sacred historical value and were allied in their disapproval of (what they took to be) our defacement of them.