Ratio 3 is pleased to present Just the End of the World Again, a solo exhibition of new artworks by Dinos Chapman. Featuring oil paintings and drawings made in the past two years, the exhibition showcases Chapman’s singularly rigorous and instinctive approach to image-making. Taking on a sprawling array of subject matter—ranging from mawkish cartoon characters to allegories from Romantic masterpieces—Chapman’s paintings present kaleidoscopic montages of visual references. Yet, for all their complexity and the apparent irreverence with which they juxtapose their subjects, the artworks comprising the exhibition are also deliberate and earnest reflections of the art-historical and cultural moment in which they were painted.
By alternating freely among illustrative styles and techniques, and emphasizing the economy of his paintings’ surfaces over expressive gesture, Chapman eschews traditional notions of genre and mark-making. Each painting resolves in the balance between depiction and abstraction; sprawling regions of dark, turpentine-streaked paint obscure painstakingly rendered details, occasionally obliterating all but a glimpse of an underlying scene. The resultant pictures defy easy categorization, and establish their own compositional logic, where familiar figure-ground relationships are in constant flux; intricate layers of imagery frequently become the supporting ground for a miasmic negative space.
Beyond the inversion of figure and ground, many of Chapman’s paintings further complicate a viewer’s sense of space and perspective. To varying degrees, regions within each composition provide spatial and perspectival cues that suggest a consistent pictorial space—objects may appear to share a light source, or to recede toward the same horizon—yet, a wash of black paint or a sudden stylistic shift can flatten or expand the painting into an infinite night sky. In several works, Chapman inverts the illusion of space entirely, rendering reversed letterforms as monoliths on a landscape, as if to suggest that the painting might instead be encountered from the other side.
Chapman’s paintings contend with the deluge of information that typifies our common era, the internet, and disjointed information streams. Within his work, Chapman locates an intersection of the macabre, the absurd, and the tender aspects of our shared pathos.
Dinos Chapman (b. 1962, London) lives and works in Los Angeles. For over three decades, Chapman’s artworks have been exhibited extensively in major public institutions and prominent galleries as part of the Chapman Brothers’ collaborative practice. Since 2021, Chapman’s artistic practice has been his own. In 2021, Chapman presented a selection of related artworks at One Trick Pony in Los Angeles. Just the End of the World Again is his most extensive solo exhibition to date and his first with Ratio 3.