Rob And Nick Carter Play Chinese Whispers With Art

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 47 months ago
Rob And Nick Carter Play Chinese Whispers With Art ★★★☆☆ 3

With each iteration, Andy Warhol's famous soup can becomes less recognisable. Copyright Rob and Nick Carter

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Most of us will have played Chinese whispers when we were young, experiencing a message getting garbled as it's passed along a line of people. But what happens when you do the same with art? Husband and wife artist duo Rob and Nick Carter are now showing the results of this experiment at The Fine Art Society.

There are Chinese workshops which can recreate famous paintings and sell them to an international audience, so you can purchase your own version of the Mona Lisa. Knowing this, the Carters took famous works to these workshops and asked them to recreate well known works of art, and through the copying process subtle errors occurred naturally. This copy would then be passed on to another workshop and the process repeated.

The results on display in the gallery show that over the course of these many copies, something as familiar as Andy Warhol's Campbell's soup can becomes an indistinguishable blob and Da Vinci's Last supper an abstract mess. It's like what would happen if a photocopy is copied again and again, and presents a statement on how the original is always better than a copy.

It's a terrific concept but the use of black and white, rather than colour, does take away some of its visual appeal and effect. It's also odd to note that none of the artists in the workshops would have noticed the errors and tried to correct them to get back  to the original image, rather than compounding the move towards an abstract image.

This take on the classic still life painter Bosschaert brings the scene to life as flies buzz around the dead frog. Copyright Rob and Nick Carter

It's great to see established artists trying something new, but if you're after the familiar then you're also in luck, as they have some of their better-known works upstairs. Still lifes are brilliantly transformed through video: rotting fruit is brought to life as maggots writhe around and fall off the table, and a reclining nude opposite moves in a restless sleep and even when still, the rise and fall of her chest when breathing can be seen.

Rob and Nick Carter: Chinese Whispers is on at The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street, W1S 2JT until 29 January. Entrance is free.

For more art to see in London see our top 10 exhibitions for January.

Last Updated 16 January 2015