Description: Jake & Dinos Chapman (b. 1966 & b. 1962)
fibreglass, resin, paint, wigs and trainers
74¾ x 35 3/8 x 35 3/8in. (190 x 90 x 90cm.)
Executed in 1997
Exhibited: New York, Gagosian Gallery, Unholy Libel (Six Feet Under), 1997, no. 6 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
London, Royal Academy, Sensation, Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, 1997-99. This exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof and New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Ant Noises: Part Two, 2000 (illustrated in colour, pp. 4-5).
London, Saatchi Gallery, Jake & Dinos Chapman, 2003.
London, Tate Liverpool, Jake & Dinos Chapman: Bad Art for Bad People, 2006-2007 (illustrated in colour, p. 3, installation view illustrated in colour, p. 138).
Literature: E. Pouncey, "Look at the Legs on that", in Loaded, December 1997 (illustrated).
R. Timms, A. Bradley and V. Hayward (eds.), Young British Artists, The Saatchi Decade, London 1999 (illustrated in colour, p. 458).
P. Elis, 100: The Works that Changed British Art, London 2003, no. 20 (illustrated in colour, pp. 46-47).
M. Holborn, Jake & Dinos Chapman- Hell, London 2003 (detail illustrated in colour, front cover and pp. 26-29).
Provenance: Victoria Miro Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Notes: Artist's Resale Right ("droit de Suite"). If the Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer also agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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DNA Zygotic is one of the most iconic of the mutated mannequins created by Dinos and Jake Chapman and has featured in several of the artists' most significant exhibitions and publications, as well as those which charted the rise of the Young British Artists. Taking its name from the term for a fused cell or a fertilised ovum, here the meaning is ambiguous: this creature appears to be less the product of a womb than of genetic engineering. This twelve-headed, four-legged mutant does not seem to recognise its lot in this world; instead, the angelic faces appear calm and satisfied, pointing to the sky at something for all the heads to see. The Chapmans have managed to create a chimera that highlights the way in which genetic engineering is sliding down a slippery slope, resulting in a life-form that appears absurd yet self-propagating. Meanwhile, those sport shoes imply that, regardless of its cumbersome upper half, this mutant can move.
The presence of the status symbol trainers and the sexual organs in this infantile creature highlight the way in which modern society, through the sexualising and market forces of advertising, are taking away the youthful innocence of childhood while also homogenising people. At the same time, there is a glorious air of innocence about this supposed monster. With its youthful looks repeated in all twelve faces and the hieratic gesture of the left hand, DNA Zygotic recalls the painting of St. John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci, himself the famous designer of the Universal Man and a genius who partook in ghoulish experiments to further humanity. DNA Zygotic, then, may be the prophet - or harbinger - of a new age of innocence, albeit a post-human innocence of the flesh quite distant from the world today.