A NEW Hayward Touring exhibition of etchings by Jake and Dinos Chapman is at Oriel Mwldan, Cardigan, until November 13th. The Chapman brothers first came to prominence as part of the YBA (Young British Artists) movement of the 1990s. They featured in the Royal Academy’s seminal 1997 exhibition Sensation, showing a sculptural version of Goya’s disasters of war. They returned to Goya’s work in 2003 when they caused outrage for painting their own ghoulish imagery over an original set of etchings.
My Giant Colouring Book returns to this method of working, this time appropriating join-the-dot drawings from a children’s picture book. The naïve innocence of the illustrations triggers a wild outpouring of fantastical imagery far removed from the original dot formations.
This series of 21 etchings, published by The Paragon Press, London, in 2004, offers a fascinating introduction to the imaginations of two of Britain’s most inventive and subversive artists.
Many of the Chapmans’ favourite themes are found here, often with a dark undercurrent. Monstrous creatures and hallucinatory scenes emerge, bristling with grotesque humour, and rich in allusions to art history: from medieval images of hell and damnation to Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. The subjects include sabre-toothed owls, psychedelic grinning cats and bears trapped in the belly of the Loch Ness monster. In describing the series, Dinos Chapman said: “(They) are about how wrong you could make an image.” My Giant Colouring Book is at Oriel Mwldan, Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan. Admission is free and the opening hours are 10am to 8pm daily.