Tools of the trade
2 Models Jake and Dinos Chapman use toy soldiers to pay homage to Goya's 'Disasters of War'
One hundred and eighty years later, the young British artistic duo Jake and Dinos Chapman re-interpreted the "Disasters" in their own series of 3D artworks. Their life-size version of a particularly harrowing scene of the castration of Spanish prisoners, in which they used shop dummies, shocked passers-by when displayed in the window of Victoria Miro's Cork Street gallery.
Previously, though, the brothers had painstakingly recreated a number of smaller versions of each of the 83 scenes. "It took us six months," says Jake. "We just used toy soldiers, bought at the most neurotic shops in the world, where you see grown men desperately looking for omnipotence." With no little amount of ingenuity, for half a year he and his brother worked with painstaking care to adapt the little 54mm figures to replicate the miseries of Goya's images. But what can have prompted the two young turks to have entered those shops in the first place, or to have conceived their three-dimensional horrors?
During the late 1970s, in the days when a PC was still a man in a blue uniform, little boys spent their time not with Sonic the Hedgehog, but gluing together Airfix kits and painting them with Humbrol enamels. In 1978, when Jake and Dinos were an impressionable 12 and 16, Almark books published a handy book called Building Napoleonic Dioramas. It's filled with invaluable tips. "Very successful dioramas," reads the introduction, "can be achieved by copying paintings by the masters of the time... Great care should be taken to position the figures to create the correct depth and perspective."
It's probable, of course, that the model-makers encountered on buying forays to "neurotic shops" would never have envisaged any more unpleasant subject for their miniature creations than "Dragoons at a Well", or "The Glorious Gloucesters at Alexandria", and, through their gritty realism, Jake and Dinos have wittily subverted an apparently morbid sub-culture. But surely the brothers would agree with the author of Almark's indispensable guide that: "It is very gratifying to create a good, well-balanced diorama. To see a group of figures on an attractive base is very nice."
Arts & Ents blogs
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
The opening titles squeal ‘Never Can Say Goodbye…’. Oh Lord how I wish I could heave this series off...
Coronation Street triumphs over EastEnders at British Soap Awards 2013
The Hangover III star Heather Graham: I'll miss playing a sexy stripper because my real life is pretty boring
Hollywood practices random acts of red-carpet kindness
Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
Cannes Film Festival 2013: And why exactly are vous here?
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.