November 9, 2012

Jake & Dinos Chapman's Kid's Book WTF

chapman_sleepless_skull.jpg

British artists Jake & Dinos Chapman have been working their creepy, shocking, disgusting, puerile, warped, deviant, unsettling schtick for so long now, the kids born when the duo first started making mutant Nazi penis-nosed baby hell sculptures are now all grown up and having kids themselves.

chapman_sleepless_cover.jpg

Which may be why the Chapmans finally got around to creating an actual children's book. Bedtime Tales for Sleepless Nights is full of dense, creepy drawings paired with ghoulish, mean poetry.

chapman_sleepless_birth.jpg

Crooked ivories
Mock with pure mirth
To scorn the error
Of your untimely birth
(and dare I mention
that your Mummy's pain
was only anyway
suffered in vain)
The Chapman Brothers claim they've "reconceive[d] the Victorian morality tale for less sanctimonious (and more misanthropic) times." Mhmm. Misanthropy is as misanthropy does, I guess. I'd say if you're reading your kid a poem about what a horrible, painful mistake his very existence is, you can relax: sanctimony is the least of your worries.

chapman_sleepless_mercy.jpg

On the other hand, we're a long way from the kind of didactic deployment of fear that characterizes the Brothers Grimm, or Der Struwelpeter, of which the Chapmans' version is basically a caricature. Which kids won't get, but that, I think, is ultimately the excuse, and the point. Pretty pictures, sing-songy voice, rhymey words, and they don't realize they've just been read the Edwardian version of Go The F*ck To Sleep:

Oh lord have mercy!
Croaks its wizened craw
Profanity implores
Yet again -- and once more
Thus it pleads
In the dead of night
To banish insomnia
for the sake of a Goodnight!
Oddly, there seems to have been a
launch party/signing for Bedtime Tales this week at White Cube Bermondsey--even though the book's been on Amazon for more than two-and-a-half years.

Fuel release The Chapman Brothers' intriguing children's book [itsnicethat via dt reader rolf]
The book's designers, Fuel Design, will have some signed copies soon, they say
Buy Jake & Dinos Chapman's Bedtime Tales for Sleepless Nights via Amazon for around $20 [amazon]

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