Chapmans rebuild Emin's tent
Tuesday 26 May 2009
Jake and Dinos Chapman have become rather obsessed with altering and recreating other artists' work.
Last year, the ever-controversial brothers made headlines when they revealed a series of watercolours painted by Adolf Hitler to which they had added their own finishing touches.
They had painted a variety of psychedelic rainbows, stars and love hearts on top of the Nazi leader's landscapes, which they then sold for six times what they had paid for them.
Now the pair have turned their attention to a fellow traveller of the Brit art movement – Tracey Emin.
Dinos Chapman claims he and his brother, who shot to fame in the mid–1990s as part of the Young British Artists movement, have recreated Emin's famous tent, entitled Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995.
The original artwork, which comprised a tent with pictures of people Emin had slept with inside, was destroyed in 2004 when a fire tore through a warehouse in east London. Emin turned down a £1m offer from the Saatchi Gallery to reproduce her work, arguing it would be "morally wrong" to recreate a destroyed work of art.
But the Chapman brothers clearly think otherwise. Dinos Chapman said at the Hay Festival that Emin's tent had already been made and they risked being sued if they showed it in public.
"Who says you can't remake something," he said. "We've remade it for her. She's threatened to sue us if we show it, but we will anyway. We were thinking about doing a limited edition and selling them at Glastonbury."
Whether their comments are a well-planned publicity stunt remains to be seen. But if the tent has been remade, it raises ethical questions over whether an artist should copy and elaborate on another artist's work.
Emin herself raised questions over whether her artwork had been recreated by the Chapman brothers. She told The Independent yesterday: "I just left Dinos Chapman in our local gym. We had a long conversation about Hay festival and the literary folk but for some reason our conversation didn't elaborate on art. I'm friends with Jake and Dinos Chapman. We are all very passionate about art and our beliefs and they know I always respond well to any kind of wind-up or antagonism – I never let them down."
If Emin's tent has been remade, however, it would fit in with other works the Chapman brothers have made in the past few years. When their work Hell – an installation depicting thousands of miniature Nazi soldiers carrying out acts of mass torture – was destroyed in the same warehouse fire that claimed Emin's work, they replaced it with an even larger version called Fucking Hell. It sold for £7.5m.
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