Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! Chapman Brothers' explicit film to be shown by Shapero Modern Gallery

Work caused a gallery to be closed 20 years ago

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The Independent Culture

An artwork by the Chapman Brothers showing explicit sex scenes that caused a gallery to be shut down by the vice squad two decades ago is to go on display again – with the film being shown in a booth with a peephole placed at a respectable height in the hope of preventing minors from viewing it.

Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! will be on display as part of an exhibition of editions by the Young British Artists whose work shocked many at the time and, in some cases, continues to do so.

In the 10-minute film, two women use a phallic sculpture made by Jake and Dinos Chapman to stimulate each other. Twenty five copies of it were made, one of which is owned by the Tate.

When it was first shown in 1995 at the Ridinghouse Editions gallery, the four monitors displaying the film were visible from the street, leading to it being closed down due to laws prohibiting explicit material being on view where the public or minors may unwittingly see it.

The Shapero Modern gallery in London hopes to avoid another visit from the police by constructing a booth, with a peephole too high for minors and an adult advisory and explicit content warning on the outside.

Mark Inglefield, who curated the show, said: “Jake and Dinos are well known for producing shocking works of art, behind which there is a purpose to challenge assumptions about sexuality and politics.”

He continued: “It was a very important artwork from that era. It would have been strange to leave it out of a survey of work from that era. It still retains the power to shock.”

The work was made in revenge after Milan gallerist Franco Toselli refused to exhibit another explicit work, Mummy and Daddy Chapman, in 1994.

Rack ‘Em Up: British Contemporary Editions, 1990-2000 opens today at the gallery. The show will include work by many of the other leading artists from the YBAs; from Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin to Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Gavin Turk.

The exhibition “seeks to capture the irreverent and exuberant flavour of the era”. It includes never before seen photographs of the artists in their studios. Work includes Lucas’ Self Portrait with Fried Eggs from 1996and Jeremy Deller’s History of the World from 1997.