The Art of Chess..Art

Picture a chess set. You probably have a pretty fixed assumption of the way one should look. Well, get ready to change that. Chess figures abstract the appearance of kings, queens, knights etc. yet, most people would be shocked to find out that the turret-looking rook piece actually represents a bird. Here you’ll find 5 artists who have re-imagined the possibilities of these characters with their own distinct styles.

Max Ernst

Surrealist painter Max Ernst (1891-1976) simplified the traditional chess board figures to create a beautiful minimalist abstraction in wood.

Yayoi Kusama

Japanese installation artist Yayoi Kusama uses her iconic pumpkins in the ultimate chess set for polka dot-loving players.

Damien Hurst

British conceptual artist Damien Hurst casts medicine bottles in silver and glass identifiable with engraved prescriptions.

Jake and Dinos Chapman

British visual artists – the Chapman brothers continue their deliberately controversial activities by turning the game of chess into a race battle. Placing naked white dolls against naked black dolls.

Alistair Mackie

Like his sphere of mice skulls, Alistair Mackie makes the dead and disgusting clean and beautiful once again. Each chess piece encapsulates an insect, perhaps millions of years old with ‘blacks’ as flying insects and ‘whites’ as ground insects.


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