We quiz Dinos Chapman about his quasi-fascist, quasi-prehistoric window for Dover Street Market, up until Friday, as well as new book Flogging a Dead Horse.
Wonderland is thoroughly in favour of the Chapman Brothers, the artist-duo who first repulsed critics in the 90s with charming creations such as Fuckface (1994 – a child mannequin with a penis for a nose) and, later, really began to twist the knife with works including Insult to Injury (a series of defaced goya etchings). We’re also big fans of Dover Street Market – Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe’s peerless avant garde fashion superstore in London’s Mayfair. So imagine our delight at the marriage of the two, in the current window for the store’s spring 2012 refit, which everyone should really go and see before it closes this Friday. In case you need any further motive to check it out, see below – a short exchange in which Dinos Chapman wittily shuts down our over-eager questions about the window and his new book Flogging a Dead Horse.
So, what kind of thoughts went into the window?
There isn’t a Japanese-y Godzilla-style reference there?
No. It’s just that the sculptures are very heavy, so they can’t be stolen.
Well, what if someone came up with a big wagon, smashed the window…
No. They’d make a bit of a mess of it. Anyway, it just seemed like a nice thing to put in a shop window.
Are they related to other works?
They’re the babies of the big dinosaurs that are at the moment in… errr.. Cambridge.
How do you feel generally about doing a commercial project like this?
Great! I mean, what’s the difference? It’s all part of the same thing. It’s the same animal isn’t it.
[stops to sign a book]
Why did you think now was a good time to do a survey book?
Because we were given total freedom to do what we wanted with the book. We’ve been offered this so many times, but often the restrictions are too much for us to put up with.
What kind of restrictions?
People want to impose a design ethic we’re just not interested in. So finally someone said, ‘do what you want’ and we did. So here it is. I mean it could be fifteen other books, because it’s so much work, it’s the tip of the iceberg.
Was it tough to select what was going in?
Well no, because we just decided we weren’t going to try and get everything in it. So there’s just loads of things that aren’t in… thousands of drawings and thousands of letters and emails, all those things.
And as far as the title – “Flogging a dead horse” – how serious is that?
Really serious. [laughs].
So are we going to see a change in direction?
No, no, no. We’re gonna just keep flogging the dead horse. Flogging the skeleton of the dead horse. [laughs]
Jake and Dinos Chapman’s Dover Street Market Window is on show until Friday February 17. The artists’ new book Flogging a Dead Horse is avialable now from Rizzoli.