Tate Liverpool Fourth floor galleries
15 December 2006 – 4 March 2007
The Tate Liverpool exhibition Jake and Dinos Chapman: Bad Art for Bad People will constitute the most comprehensive overview of the Chapmans’ work to date. As part of this survey, the exhibition will include the first and only complete showing of the newly finished project Painting for Pleasure and Profit: A piece of site-specific performance based body art in oil, canvas and wood (dimensions variable) 2006. Presented as an installation, this will be the only such showing of this body of work and its studio setting before the works are dispersed to their owners.
The installation will contain 125 paintings housed in a garret-style studio featuring lurid wallpaper and bare floorboards and light bulbs. It comes complete with easels, chairs, paint palettes and other paraphernalia, such as several electric fans, which the artists required to complete their painting project, undertaken during the Frieze Contemporary Art Fair (a key event in the art world calendar) at Regents Park, London in October 2006.
Painting for Pleasure and Profit 2006 continues the Chapman’s dialogue with the role and status of the artist, grappling with the legacy of romantic and avant-gardist associations of the artist-as-genius, which they aim to ridicule and undermine. It parodies the commercialism of the contemporary art world which puts art at the service of global capitalism, whilst also questioning contemporary notions of aesthetic value and artistic patronage. It also humorously takes to task the vanity of the contemporary collector, queuing up to pose for a portrait of questionable resemblance or accuracy, churned out in back-to-back 30 minute sittings. The Chapmans’ ‘portraits’ are perhaps more an excuse for self-expression and the free reign of their imagination than a true representation of the sitters themselves. Despite this, it also enables the artists to indulge in the process of painting, a form of pleasurable repetition governed perhaps by the pleasure principle – a recurring theme in their work.
The Chapmans quite deliberately embrace an apparently anachronistic form of artistic production – the commissioned portrait, its outmoded status making it perhaps even more an act of vanity to sit for a portrait today than might have been the case in centuries past. Through this obsolete form they also mock more recent and more dominant forms of art practice such as site-specific installation art and performance art. The Chapmans have stated their preference for such ‘zombified’ art forms that afford more scope for irony and attack.