West Sussex, UK - Hardworking hedonist Dinos Chapman, half of the Brit art Chapman Brothers, pimped a Bedford ice cream van which was lit with lurid UV tinted lighting inside and underneath. With custom airbrushed bubble panels, fitted sound DVD and plasma screens, racing seat, white fake fur trim and furry dice. It was created for the Chateau Grey Goose EJAF project 2007 where it sold in a charity auction at Elton John's Aids Foundation raising in excess of £40,000 (we believe). At Summers Place Auctions sealed bid Garden & Conversation Pieces sale the van fetched a cool £21,601 (hammer price excluding premiums) - the highest lot at the auction.
Chapman's exhibitionist art apprenticeship was as an assistant to Gilbert and George whose shock tactics were taken to extremes by the Chapmans who used torture and disfigurement of plastic models in their early works, developing into anatomical and pornographic grotesques with mannequins of children, sometimes fused together, with genitalia in place of facial features. In May 2004, a fire in a storage warehouse destroyed many works from the Saatchi collection including Chapman Brother's Hell which they remade as a more extensive work called Fucking Hell. Dinos Chapman lives in a midmod furnished converted reservoir in Kent. He and his wife are at number 100 and 101 in the Tatler list of wealthy socialites, royalty and A listers - which is headed by the Queen.
The three larger than life size communists were on offer at Summers Place in the form of monumental sculptures dating from the 1950s, glorifying the exploits of the October 1917 revolution, and removed from the roof of the Communist party headquarters in Prague in 1991. Each was carved from a two ton block of sandstone.
The auction catalogue stated that one lot looked like an idealised heroic representation of Stalin who, prior to his death in 1953, ruled the USSR with an iron fist. Given pride of place on the parapet of the Communist party headquarters, which later became the Lenin Museum, they were carved collectively by three of the leading Czechoslovakian sculptors of the time, Svata Hajerova, Irena Sedlecka and Ludvig Kodym. All three were awarded the prize of City of Prague and were Laureates of the State Prize for previous achievements. Of the three Irena Sedlecka is the only one still living and who went on to become a well-known sculptor in the West.
Two of the figures sold for £12,271 whilst the third sold for £8,000.
Old timers at Billinghurst will remember previous appearances of these statues from time to time and the intrepid former architectural salvage dealer who originally rescued them from an ignominious fate which could have been their destiny had they remained in the Czech Republic.
Please go to the Summers Place website to see the results of all lots in this sale.