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Apocalypse
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The Independent Online

Maybe secular societies always try to fill the God-shaped hole: but if this is true then few of the exhibits in Apocalypse, the new show at the Royal Academy, make a significant contribution to the construction of a vivid secular myth, at least none that matches the majesty of the bible's Book of Revelations, which has powered so many artistic visions of heaven and hell.

Maybe secular societies always try to fill the God-shaped hole: but if this is true then few of the exhibits in Apocalypse, the new show at the Royal Academy, make a significant contribution to the construction of a vivid secular myth, at least none that matches the majesty of the bible's Book of Revelations, which has powered so many artistic visions of heaven and hell.

On the side of the angels, Mariko Mori's kitsch dream temple, complete with "lawns" of artifical snow, offers itself as a peaceful, plastic refuge; while Tim Noble and Sue Webster's sphere of lightbulbs pulse first red, then orange, yellow and white, like a sunset in reverse, converting all bystanders into electric pagans.

But the devil has all the best tunes, and so it is that the must-see exhibit is Jake and Dinos Chapman's version of Hell. Set in a series of huge fish tanks, the Chapman boys have created a range of apocalyptic worlds, each swarming with tiny figures fighting, dying and copulating (above). The details include skeletons on horseback and odd-shaped cadavers hanging from multiple gibbets; it is part Hieronymous Bosch, part Ray Harryhausen. It teems with a ghoulish vibrancy.

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