The Chapman brothers return with an echo of past images

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The most significant work in the exhibition, which goes on public display at the White Cube gallery in London today, is a series that paints over and augments 80 etchings by Goya known as Los Caprichos.

When the Chapman brothers carried out a similar exercise with Goya's other famous set of etchings, Disaster of War, two years ago, there was outrage from those who regarded the move as a desecration. But they re-stressed yesterday that none of Goya's etchings were produced in his own lifetime and that those who sentimentally opposed their versions had never looked at Goya's own work.

They suggested they would not carry out similar "improvements" to a Goya painting - although the idea raised a slight glint in Dinos's eye. "It would be a totally different thing to do. It might be something we might want to do but it's not something that we're going out of our way to do," he said.

Jake, 39, added: "It would be very easy to try to be as vulgar as we possibly can be by getting our mitts on scarce, sacred objects [like paintings] but we're very conscious that the etchings are mass-produced objects."

Asked what the appeal of Goya was, Dinos, 43, said: "He denotes the point at which art could no longer hide behind religion and the idea that it doesn't matter what happens here, you'll go to heaven afterwards. When you have head and arms chopped ... you're just flesh that will rot."