Jake Chapman was born in Cheltenham in 1966 and studied at North East London Polytechnic. Dinos Chapman was born in London in 1962 and studied at Ravensbourne College of Art in London. Both studied at the Royal College of Art, London in 1990.
Jake and Dinos Chapman’s work explores hard hitting subjects such as war, politics, religion and morality while injecting their own brand of subversive humour and energy. Known mainly for working in the medium of sculpture, the Chapmans also cross over into installation, drawing, painting and printmaking.
The Chapmans first came to public attention in 1993 with The Disasters of War exhibition. Using plastic model figurines, the brothers recreated a series of tableaux inspired by the eighteenth century artist Francisco Goya’s famous series of etchings of the Franco-Spanish Napoleonic wars. This fascination with the Spanish artist has continued with their Insult to Injury series included in their Turner Prize nomination exhibition in 2003 at Tate Britain, London. My Giant Colouring Book (2004) is a portfolio comprising twenty-one etchings where the Chapmans unleash their fantastical imaginations on what should be a safe and harmless children’s colouring book. Referring to art historical iconography from Goya to Surrealism, the brothers twist the pages into a darker context. The ascending numbered dots appear to have been followed correctly but upon close inspection reveal images beyond the realms of their intention; what would have been a cuddly teddy bear, becomes a severed monster with its innards spilling out; a hand-maiden bearing freshly picked flowers is suddenly footsteps away from an exploding house; and a sea creature in the ocean becomes a shelter for a pair of cold monkeys.
Jake and Dinos Chapman’s work gained widespread media interest as part of the seminal group exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi collection, shown in London, Berlin and New York, 1997-9. They have exhibited extensively and their solo shows include Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, 2008; Tate Britain, 2007; Tate Liverpool, 2006; White Cube, 2005 and The Art Ginza Space, Tokyo, 2000.