Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

David LaChapelle exhibition in London

David LaChapelle, known by most people as a photographer whose work is the bedrock of fashion and celebrity photographs has had a change of direction as  explains in the Guardian

“For years David LaChapelle was the go-to photographer for the world’s biggest stars. But in 2006 he ditched fashion for fine art. As an exhibition of his work opens in London, he talks to Elizabeth Day about death, divas and decadence”  Read this interesting article here

From the press release for the exhibition we have this information

ROBILANT + VOENA are pleased to announce a major exhibition of acclaimed American artist DAVID LACHAPELLE
opening in February across three European locations – London, Milan and St.Moritz:

Dates: 14 February – 24 March 2012
Reception for the Artist – Monday 13 February
Public Lecture by the Artist – Tuesday 14 February
Location: ROBILANT+VOENA Gallery, 38 Dover Street, London W1S 4NL
Open: Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat 11am – 5pm

“In this new series of ten works DAVID LACHAPELLE (Born 1964) explores the vanity of life and beauty. With titles such
as “Springtime”, “Late Summer”, “Early Fall” and “Deathless Winter” the works refer to the four seasons and allude to
the life cycle: from birth to death.
The title of the series is a quotation of the poem “Hamatreya” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in which flowers are the
earth’s laughter at the arrogance of human beings who believe they can rule the earth, although they themselves are
transient and must return to it. The title of the exhibition can also be read in the sense of the Baroque vanitas
portrayals. The meaning of the Baroque floral still life was always related to the human hubris and transience of
earthly existence, with the classical still life often containing many of the following: flowers, fruits, vegetables,
animals, insects, mask, candles, watches or skulls. These symbols denote the fugacity and limitations of human life
and the meaningless nature of vanity. Just like wilting flowers, albeit their beauty, we will all fade away.
Whilst LaChapelle shows an explicit compositional affinity to Baroque floral still life, he transfers the genre from
painting to photography. The artist employs art historical visual traditions, but he also translates them into visual
metaphor of and for our time. On second glance the viewer will discover objects of contemporary society in the
blooming and fading flower arrangements: burning cigarettes, newspapers from yesterday, old mobile phones,
plastic, Barbies, a Manga mask, medical devices, a burning American flag, a model of an airplane, balloons, tins,
collages, throw away dinnerware or a tattered dollar bill. These are the metaphors of vanity in our era of an affluent
though seemingly troubled society. The often bizarre and excessive symbolical imagery does not fail to remind us
however, as in the traditional vanitas, to follow our virtues and to celebrate life before it‘s over.” the gallery website is here


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