Brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman came to prominence in the mid 1990s alongside their ‘YBA’ (Young British Artist) peers, including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn. Since then, they have collaborated on a provocative and influential body of work that confronts our standards of morality and taste while also questioning the social role and value of art. The Chapman brothers’ work particularly reflects the idea that art emerges from unique and original creative thoughts: they regard their art practice as being situated within an ongoing process of exchange with existing images and forms in both contemporary and historical visual culture.
The Etchasketchathon 2007 suite of prints derives its title from the popular ‘Etch-A-Sketch’ children’s drawing toy of the 1960s. The work deliberately plays nostalgia and childhood innocence off against a contemporary, and mainly adult, sense of uncertainty and anxiety surrounding children and their exposure to a more sinister world. Etchasketchathon reworks illustrations found in a colouring book, transforming idyllic childhood scenes into nightmarish visions, populated by maniacally smiling children, dismembered bodies and rotting flesh. At once hilarious and terrifying, the prints play on the gap between society’s idealised vision of the child and children’s real or imagined experiences.