Saturday, 7 June 2008

If Hitler Had Been a Hippy...

If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be

This is the name of an exhibition currently at the White Cube in Mayfair, displaying the work of Jake & Dinos Chapman... and Hitler.

I loved the name of the exhibition and it was certainly very interesting, although strangely eery to see Adolf Hitler's work and signature right in front of me. There was certainly no glimpse of the terrible acts he would commit in these bland, unobjectionable watercolours.

In another part of the exhibition is a recreation of the burned work 'Hell' by Jake & Dinos Chapman, this time entitled 'Fucking Hell', which contains miniature sculptures of Nazis and holocaust victims. It is accompanied by this poem:

HELL hath no fury
Like a chapman spurned,
So come see the second
'Cos the first one burned.

It's full of gruesome mutilated bodies, but the most powerful image for me was one of a mass of dead bodies surrounded by mini soldiers with swastikas around their arms, and Hitler (or some other Nazi) looking on, standing in front of an easel. He is painting a watercolour of a house.

Some people may morally object to the fact that the artists paid upwards of £100,000 for Hitler's original work, and plan to sell it for a whole lot more. I am not sure what I think about this but I found it extremely worthwhile and thought-provoking and would recommend a visit. It also made me muse on the moral issue of enjoying the work of bad people; Wagner for example, a Nazi sympathiser made great music, but should we be enjoying it? I know it's not directly related because Hitler's art can in no way be seen as exceptional (although I'm not sure I could do it..) but it's an interesting discussion to have.


  1. That sounds so interesting. I would love to visit it.
    As for my dress count...I'd like to know myself! I have some clothes here at school, some in storage, and some at my parents' place...

  2. wow, this exhibition sounds so fascinating. it's such an interesting question - whether we should allow what we know of an artist or authort to affect how we view their work. because in which case we wouldn't even let our kids watch 'jungle book', seeing as rudyard kipling was anti-semitic.