Executed in 1997, Two Faced Cunt is part of one of the most famous series realised by the Chapman brothers. Using an idiomatic British insult as its title, the sculpture literally depicts this, becoming a material illustration of violence. It reveals the artists' practice of making manifest, visually, a verbal obscenity, and the particular choice and recurrence of certain obscenity combined with a sense of (bodily) parody and mockery, that creates a punning language that is poised between a moral stance - the aim to return to moral conduct through shock or abreaction and insolent laughter' (J. and D. Chapman quoted in Bad Art for Bad People, exh. cat., Tate Liverpool, p. 80).
Having featured in most of their major exhibitions as well as the notorious Sensation show at the Royal Academy in 1997, this sculpture is amongst a handful of works that have come to define the so-called YBA movement. Propelling the artists to controversial prominence, the sculpture oscillates between extremities of horror and humour. Drawn from the aesthetic of Surrealist works, particularly the infamous series of sculptures and photographs titled The Doll by Hans Bellmer, Two Faced Cunt uses the distortion of the human body to create an intensely expressive work. The shocking imagery aggressively confronts the viewer, its deconstructed anatomy revealing the Chapman's malaise about the state of modern society and their warning about the potential next step in a post-Darwinian world with man-made mutated beings.
Giving material form to horrific concepts, the Chapmans brilliantly and persuasively translate a nightmare vision into a scene of utter horror. They have explained that 'when our sculptures work they achieve the position of reducing the viewer to a state of absolute moral panic,' (J. and D. Chapman quoted in D. Fogle, 'A Scatological Aesthetic for the Tired of Seeing', Chapman World, London, 1996, unpaged) and in so doing they successfully shock us into facing up to and tackling some of the harsh realities that are exposed.