The Lost Lectures: iii

The third slot in the Lost Lectures lineup was occupied by the one I was really, really looking forward to. You can read my previous post on them over on my old blog, Artwork Wednesdays.


…Or should that be The Chapman Brother, singular? Dinos was toilet-bound with diarrhoea. Which I suppose is kinda classic, considering everything about The Chapman Brothers tends to be rrrraaa-ha-haaaancid. Like this:


Whether a onesome or a twosome, this artistic force was hotly anticipated. The organisers knew this, which is why it was so heartbreaking to see what an absolute clusterfuck Jake made of this talk. He rocked up without anything to say and just got the compere to ask him questions. Remember how I said the compere was glorious? I have never seen someone stay so cool under beating pressure.

From time to time, JC (that’s Jake Chapman) gave a Real Proper Answer. Like when he was asked why he creates ‘such nasty stuff’,’ and he said it was “sublimated hatred, a healthy non-pathological form of psychosis”.

His refusal to give a serious answer to any question started off as entertaining but it soon became tired, and I think the audience became teasy (that’s Cornish for antsy or irritable; the kinda feeling you get before your first pasty of the day). I was totally disappointed as I’d been banging on to Anni about how much I was looking forward to this part of the evening and it was a bust. But whatever; monsier compere opened question time to the floor and Jake Chapman was asked by an admitted art novice, perhaps inevitably, “who buys this shit?”. That got a bigger applaud that anything Jake said himself. The answer? “Guilty Germans,” as they include a swastika in most of their pieces, “and people with too much money and no taste”.

Maybe this was to be expected. I hated them for years, until I did a violent 180 somewhere in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Hyde Park. I always thought they were attention-seeking, cringeworthy, teen-esque and vacuous; but I came to see their controversy had a valid social comment buried somewhere within. I went through a similar transformation on a mini scale during this talk. Jake pissed me off at first – but that was before I stopped wanting him to be a speaker like the two before him and recognised that if he didn’t grate on me, he wouldn’t have made the art that I think, I think, I’m coming to love.

Still doesn’t mean the spoken word is his artform though. Stay in the studio, Jake.


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