David LaChapelle - After the deluge

Exhibition at Mons
  • With an international reputation in the world of fashion, advertising and fine art photography, his work is characterised by touches of surrealism, humour and eroticism. After years of reaching out to a broad audience with works showcasing huge stars, the artist is now taking a more creative path, coming up with more conceptual pieces through which he expresses his concern for ecological and ethical issues. Over 100 photos will be on display, including some large format works, as well as music videos he has directed for well-known pop and rock singers.

    David LaChapelle is renowned for his ability to create surreal visual worlds, more often than not saturated with bright colours. He was barely 20 years old when he moved to New York and met Andy Warhol, the king of the Pop Art scene(Andy Warhol. Life Death and Beauty, at the BAM in 2013-2014)who invited him to work for his magazine, Interview.He soon became famous around the world for his images of pop culture published in VanityFair, VogueItalia and Rolling Stone Magazine. In no time at all, the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Leonardo DiCaprio and UmaThurman, to name but a few, were clamouring to be photographed by him. He also worked on advertising campaigns for big brands including L’Oréal, Diesel Jeans and many more.
    He went on to direct music videos for the biggest names in pop and rock music like Madonna, Elton John and more recently Moby and Florence & The Machine. His glamour photos often celebrate sex, not so much to shock as to condemn emerging fears of the sexual freedom that now seems to have been completely lost.

    In David LaChapelle work there is a before and an after. In 2006, during a journey in Italy, the artist has the chance of a private visit of the Sistine Chapel; his artistic sensibility is so unsettled by the beauty and power of Roman art that those elements give the ultimate drive to necessary change of his artistic production.
    Until then LaChapelle prefers his photos published on fashion magazines and books, without critical texts. The goal has never been to restrict to the mere picture, but to reach the broader audience as possible – this is the way to be a pop artist – and lead the interpretation of his work on emotional shock level.
    LaChapelle pushed his aesthetics to the limit, but in 2006 walked out on the scene. He turned away from worldliness in order to live in a wild island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean “I said what I wanted to say”.He started a new chapter of his life and the turning point is The Deluge, a powerful work over seven meters large, created after Michelangelo “Deluge” in the Sistine Chapel, which gives the title to a related series of works.
    After The Deluge, the American photographer begins to produce artworks with new aesthetical and conceptual concerns. The most evident sign of the change is the vanishing of the human presence in the serial works: the living models, that in all the previous works have had a central part in the composition and in the message embodied by the image, disappear.

    The exhibition, curated by Gianni Mercurio, will be divided in two sections, displayed in the two different floors at BAM, presenting over 100 photos, many of them in a large size.

    In one section will be exhibited works dated until 2007. Among them, the Deluge Series and the most known works that made him famous all around the word, depicting a human universe, tinged with the colours and the lights of plastic, morbidly tied to the research of pleasure and excess.

    The scenes are based on religious themes with surrealistic touches, references of masterpieces of the art history and cinema, defined by the chromatic saturation and movement, with which the American photographer reached his identifiable aesthetical style and influenced many artists of the following generations.

    In a second section will be displayed works of the last ten years of LaChapelle career, (including new works which will be produced in 2017), presenting his approach to photography in a more conceptual way and expressing his concerns about ecological and ethical issues, like the exploitation of Earth’s resources or the progressive and extreme aestheticism of contemporary society that Andy Warhol, David LaChapelle mentor, predicted.

    In the exhibition will be presented backstage and making of videos and some of the music videos that the artist made for rock and pop stars.

    Place: BAM
  • Quality standards
  • From January 1, 2018
    until February 25, 2018
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