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"Disasters of War"
2001-10-10 until 2002-01-27
Montreal Museum of Fine Art
The exhibition Francisco Goya and Jake and Dinos Chapman: Disasters of War, presents, side by side, the famous series of prints by the Spanish painter and its contemporary pendant, Disasters of War II by the brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman
In 1999, these two British artists interpreted Goya's work - which was inspired by the Napoleonic occupation of Spain - by drawing on the collective memory of the horrors the German forces committed during World War II. Unlike the realism that characterizes Goya's work, the Chapmans' images are filtered by comic strips, children's drawings and caricatures. As a whole, they effect both a strange distance from their original subject and, at the same time, a rare expressive force. This series of prints by the Chapman brothers is the only edition highlighted with watercolours. All the works come from the Bruce Bailey collection, Toronto.
Before executing this series, the Chapman brothers, leaders of the YBA (Young British Artists), had already used Goya's series The Disasters of War as inspiration for two others works. In 1993, they created a diorama in which toy soldiers acted out each of the scenes in Goya's Disasters of War. They then executed Great Deeds against the Dead, a life-size re-creation of one of the more macabre scenes. This work was presented in the notorious and controversial exhibition Sensation (shown between 1997 and 1999 in London, Berlin and New York). More recently, in the exhibition Apocalypse, at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, they presented a huge diorama, on a scale of 1:35, in the shape of a swastika. Entitled Hell, this work was described by several critics as one of the most disturbing works of the day. This parallel presentation provides an eloquent testimony to the everlastingness of war as a theme in art.