Dinosaurs have returned to a venue near Chichester.
But these are very particular dinosaurs, part of an exhibition by leading British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman at Cass Sculpture Foundation.
It’s an open-ended show which might just end with one of them being bought – for a price tag that could set you back half a million pounds.
In the meantime, the pieces are creating a talking point as Cass Sculpture continues with its new policy of increasing visitor numbers.
The show in the grounds and galleries is free with general entry.
Jake and Dinos Chapman are known for iconoclastic sculpture, prints and installations that explore the political implications of religion and morality with sardonic humour; often using the distance of history to illustrate the monstrous effects they can have on society. The brothers graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 1990 and have collaborated ever since. They achieved notoriety in the mid-1990s when their sculptures were included in the Young British Artists showcase exhibitions Brilliant! and Sensation. In 2003, they were nominated for the Turner Prize.
The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, but not the Mineral Rights comprises three large-scale sculptures entitled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Towering as high as eight metres, the impressive corten steel creatures have been placed amongst the beautiful woodlands at Cass.
The title is said to have been taken from a quote by the oil and art tycoon J Paul Getty and alludes to the darkness behind these child-like sculptures. Resembling a make-your-own set for children, these clumsily-lovable herbivores invite audiences to view the work with a sadistic humour typical of the Chapman Brothers, says executive director Clare Hindle.
Inside the main gallery is Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good, a piece which the brothers created when their piece Hell, a seminal Chapman Brothers work, was destroyed in the fire that engulfed the Charles Saatchi collection in 2004.
“We have been following the Chapman Brothers for a long, long time,” says Clare. “Our
model is support both established and emerging sculptors. It is really exciting to have them here on display.
“The title The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, but not the Mineral Rights is interesting. The whole point is that the dinosaurs look almost childlike but the name is actually talking about capitalism and the greed in the economy. You look at them and you think they look fairly friendly, but then you think about the title and what it actually means.
“When you look at the Chapman Brothers work in general, some of it can be very extreme. But this work is different to a lot of their other pieces. It is equally thoughtful and meaningful but it is perhaps slightly more accessible.”
Of the brothers, Jake came to see Cass and had a hand in choosing which option for where exactly the pieces would go: “He fell in love with the place and with what we are doing here.
“The exhibition is open-ended, but like all the other sculptures, they are for sale. To buy one of them on its own would be £450-500,000. It is not small change! But they are amazing, massive things. Selling one of them is not really what it is all about, but you just never know. There are a few people that do collect on that scale. And if we did sell one, it would help us commission works for the future.”
As part of changes at the venue, Cass Sculpture has revamped its shop: “And the Chapman Brothers have given us lots of new merchandise that we can sell.”
The sculpture park is also increasing its range of events and activities at the site.
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