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2017.11.04 Sat, by Christopher Moore
Jake and Dinos’s Blow Up Job

Jake & Dinos Chapman, “The Disasters of Everyday Life”
Blain|Southern (4 Hanover Square, London) Oct 4–Nov 11, 2017 

Remember the beginning of Pulp Fiction, right? Of course you do.

Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) sit in a diner they are about to rob:

Honey Bunny: I love you, Pumpkin.
Pumpkin: I love you, Honey Bunny.
Pumpkin leaps up with a gun: All right, everybody be cool, this is a robbery!
Honey Bunny shrieks: Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!

I thought of this at the opening of Jake & Dinos Chapman’s first show at Blain Southern, as the schmoozers and the boozers sashayed around the suicide vests. If this had been Afghanistan or Iraq or Sudan, you’d all be dead.

Crowded disaster zone: Jake & Dinos Chapman 'The Disasters of Everyday Life' opening night at Blain Southern, London

Crowded disaster zone: Jake & Dinos Chapman ‘The Disasters of Everyday Life’ opening night at Blain Southern, London

Seven bronze replicas of suicide vests—”Life and Death Vests”—are scattered around the room, hemmed in by three full sets of Francisco Goya’s etchings, The Disasters of WarThe Disasters of YogaThe Disasters of War on Terror and The Disasters of Everyday Life. Jake & Dinos have touched up Goya since their Insult to Injury series in 2003. The Disasters take the abuse further; it makes the horror of violence brighter, more fun, more instagrammable.

The Goya pieces are good (I love the Jackson Pollock gargoyle). But you can’t get away from it—this show is all about being weighed down and blown up. Six of the vests are based on images scraped from the internet and the seventh from Jackie Chan’s 1998 Rush Hour (Jake & Dinos bought the film prop from an online auction). Yeah, which is which? Which is the fake one? How can you tell? I was just waiting for someone to yell “He’s got a bomb!” and watch the stampede as people fought to get out.

They play on classical busts that have lost their heads and the empty cowl of death. And they play on Jeff Koons’s series of bronze Aqualungs and Snorkel Vests from 1985. But whereas Jeff’s vests will make you sink, Jake & Dinos’s will make you (sky) high. In Hanover Square we are close to the Bond Street fashion strip and the Dandies of Savile Row. So we are in a boutique, too, shopping for dayware for vultures. Antonioni’s models and tennis players are about to get slaughtered. It’s murder out there.

Jake & Dinos Chapman 'The Disasters of Everyday Life' opening night at Blain Southern, London

Jake & Dinos Chapman ‘The Disasters of Everyday Life’ opening night at Blain Southern, London

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons “Snorkel Vest” and “Snorkel” 1985 bronze, Newport Street Gallery, 2016. Photo Chris Moore

Jackson Pollock demon

Jackson Pollock demon

Colourful Goya slaughter

Colourful Goya slaughter

Jake & Dinos Chapman 'Life and Death Vest' 2017 with Goya prints (image courtesy the artists, photo Chris Moore)

Jake & Dinos Chapman ‘Life and Death Vest’ 2017 with Goya prints (image courtesy the artists, photo Chris Moore)

Jake & Dinos Chapman 'Life and Death Vest' 2017 with Goya prints (image courtesy the artists, photo Chris Moore)

Jake & Dinos Chapman ‘Life and Death Vest’ 2017 with Goya prints (image courtesy the artists, photo Chris Moore)

Jake & Dinos Chapman 'Life and Death Vest' 2017 detail (image courtesy the artists, photo Chris Moore)

Jake & Dinos Chapman ‘Life and Death Vest’ 2017 detail (image courtesy the artists, photo Chris Moore)

Jake & Dinos Chapman - another suicide vest

Jake & Dinos Chapman – another suicide vest