The Sum of all Evil (2012-13), an installation by the Chapman Brothers

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In London’s idyllic Sackler Gallery one can see on display the Chapman Brothers’ masterpiece “The Sum of all Evil” (December 2013).

A word of caution is in order before I proceed. This post is potentially harmful to people without an acute and tragic sense of humour, to people who think that extreme things do not happen, to people who think that Mars is only a planet, to people who …

Francisco de Goya, Atropos, or the Fates, técnica mixta sobre revestimiento mural, 123 x 266 cm. Museo del Prado (Madrid, España)
Francisco de Goya, Atropos, or the Fates, técnica mixta sobre revestimiento mural, 123 x 266 cm. Museo del Prado (Madrid, España)

In one of Goya’s 14 black paintings, Atropos, the Goddess of Death is leading the Fates.

War brings massive death. Goya’s etchings  ‘Disasters Of War’ has been a theme of constant interest to the Chapman Brothers.

Disasters of War No.72 2000 Hand-coloured etching 24.5 x 34.5 cm    9½ x 13½"
Chapman Brothers. Disasters of War No.72 2000 Hand-coloured etching 24.5 x 34.5 cm 9½ x 13½” (Saatchi Gallery, London)

Carl von Clausewitz’s dictum “War is the continuation of politics by other means” is a total understatement in view of Goya’s etchings.

Goya, Disasters of War No. 72 (1810-1820)
Francisco de Goya, Disasters of War No. 72 (1810-1820)

‘War is Hell’ William Sherman, Union General, American Civil War.

Chapman Brothers
Chapman Brothers

In ‘The Sum of all Evil’ the protagonist is Evil, not just War.

Lets go for a boat ride.

Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

In the path that takes us to evil, inevitably we pass through Colonel Kurtz.

Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

White Cube reports from the Hong Kong exhibition of the work. ‘Monumental in scope and minute in detail, The Sum of all Evil (2012-13) occupies the entire ground floor of the gallery and is the most densely imagined diorama installation that the artists have produced to date.’

Chapman Brothers.
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

The fourth in a series of Hell landscapes the work features a multitude of intricately modelled Nazi soldiers, along with various characters from the fast food chain McDonald’s, committing violent, abhorrent acts set amid an apocalyptic landscape within four glass vitrines. Darkly humorous, The Sum of all Evil, as its title suggests, is imaginative rather than descriptive: a summation of all the worst possible ‘evils’, violence runs amok in a trans-historical and a-temporal arena. (White Cube).

evil1
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

‘The Sum of All Evil’ (2012-2013) features cabinets filled with tableaux of detailed depravity in the manner of ‘Hell’ (2000), which was destroyed in the 2004 Momart warehouse fire. In one glass tank, dozens of Ronald McDonalds are crucified by Nazis. In another, Ronald turns torturer. (Time Out London).

Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

Once evil has been unleashed, there is no stopping it.

Evil is something that makes me feel impotent. Not because of evil itself, but because of the way ‘ordinary’ people can commit evil acts (see my relevant post ‘action against evil acts’).

Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

Massive carnage, death, everywhere.

Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).
Chapman Brothers.The Sum of all Evil (2012-13).

Only in one serene remote spot, Adolph flies his multi coloured balloons.

Sources

1. White Cube. Jake & Dinos Chapman.

2. Time Out London. Jake and Dinos Chapman: Come and See