Colourful, provocative, humorous and glamorous: During the past three decades, David LaChapelle has created an extraordinary and unmistakeable oeuvre that had a lasting influence on the aesthetics of the visual realm. For his fantastic exaggerated, flashy photographs the storyteller has staged numerous pop and movie stars. With hyper-real settings featuring gleaming and perfect bodies, bits and pieces of consumer culture and citations of natural beauty, he creates a bizarre tension between alienation and attraction that raises existential questions – of spirituality and religion, gender and sexuality, transience and exploitation.
Inspired by Andy Warhol, David LaChapelle started in the mid-eighties in New York to take photograph for international lifestyle magazines and exhibit his work. This was followed by shows in major museums and galleries around the world. OstLicht Gallery was pleased to presents in Vienna a comprehensive exhibition, featuring well-known icons of the photographer alongside three of his latest groups of works: »Earth Laughs in Flowers« (2008–2011), »Gas« (2012) and »Land Scape« (2013).
»Once in the Garden« (2014) was David LaChapelle’s most recent work to date and was also exhibited as part of the show. Not only did it inspire the title of the OstLicht exhibition, but it was also the title image of the 2014 Life Ball. The diptych makes LaChapelle’s grounding in art history particularly apparent. Motifs like the pink fountain of life and the reclining youth with a fantasy head are strongly reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s »The Garden of Earthly Delights« (ca. 1500). In his own version of a surreal paradisiacal garden, LaChapelle staged the transgender model Carmen Carrera, giving a strong voice to an issue close to his heart: that love knows no gender boundaries.
The photographs are available for sale as C-prints in a limited edition.
IMPRESSIONS FROM THE OPENING