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Jake Chapman In Conversation

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by Henderson Downing, for outsideleft.com
originally published: March, 2005
I ignored the warnings of those who found Cosey all alone with the microphone

Convinced that this would be an evening of quality cultural eavesdropping I trekked through the snow and the rain to the venue ignoring the warnings of those who had recently gone to see Chapman in conversation with Cosey Fanni Tutti only to find Cosey all alone with the microphone. In the past I've been guilty of naming the Chapman Brothers as the most important figures in late twentieth century art. Surely he'd turn up for the fawning likes of me. He did not show up.

In more than one interview Jake has explained that the celebrity status of many modern artists meant that 'the work becomes a trace element of the trajectory of famous people . . . a lot of those artists believe that's the correct way in which the work should be analysed: them first, then the work. They treat the work as a symptom of their ego.'

Is this series of no-shows merely the beginning of some kind of non-performance piece? A low-key critique of the ego? A gradual deconstruction of celebrity? Or are there darker forces at play? Just don't expect any answers if you go to see the youngest Chapman brother in conversation.

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Henderson Downing

Henderson Downing has written for various literary journals and small press magazines, he lives in London

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