David LaChapelle, the great American artist and photographer, comes back, after more than fifteen years, to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni with one of the most important and exhaustive retrospective exhibition of the artists work.
There will be more than 150 works on view, some presented for the first time in a museum including many large-scale and vintage works.
Rome has been a milestone in the artistic life of David LaChapelle. In 2006, during a journey to Italy, the artist was granted the opportunity to a private visit of the Sistine Chapel; his artistic sensibility was so unsettled by the beauty and power of Roman art that those elements gave him the ultimate drive to change his artistic production.
Until then, LaChapelle preferred that his photos be published in fashion magazines and books, without critical texts. The goal, for LaChapelle, has never been to restrict to the mere picture, but to reach as broad audience as possible – this is the way to be a pop artist – and lead the lecture of his work on an emotional shock level.
LaChapelle pushed his aesthetics to the limit, but in 2006 walked out on the fashion 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”.
The exhibition will focus on the works realized by the artist starting from 2006, when he produced the monumental series titled “The Deluge”, which lead to a meaningful turning point in the artistic path of David LaChapelle. Through the realization of “The Deluge”, modeled after Michelangelo’s impressive fresco in the Sistine Chapel, the artist returned to conceiving works with the unique purpose to exhibit in art galleries and in museums, and is less focused on commissioned work that is destined for the pages of fashion magazines and ad campaigns.
After “The Deluge”, the American photographer began to produce artwork with new aesthetical and conceptual concerns. The most evident sign of the change is the vanishing of the human presence. The living models, that in all the previous works (the only exception is “The Electric Chair”, 2001, personal interpretation of Andy Warhol’s famous artwork) have had a central part in the composition and in the messages embodied by the images, disappear. “Car Crash”, “Negative Currencies”, “Earth Laughs in Flowers”, “Gas Stations”, “Land Scapes”, up to the most recent “Aristocracy” series, follow this new aesthetic choice: LaChapelle resoundingly deletes the flesh, which was previously an identifiable element of his art.
To allow the public to understand the "origins" of LaChapelle work before “The Deluge”, the exhibition will also include a selection of some of the most renowned and loved photos that made him famous, realized during the decade between 1995 and 2005. A body of work that will gather all portraits of celebrities from music to fashion and movies, scenes based on religious themes with surrealistic touches, references to masterpieces of art history and cinema, an artistic production defined by the chromatic saturation and movement, with which the American photographer reached his particular aesthetical style and influenced many artists of the following generations.
In the exhibition there will also be a projection space dedicated to behind-the-scenes videos, which, capture the composite process and the constructions of his photo sets, which clearly reveal that the artist’s role is extended also to director and scenic designer of his own photos.
David LaChapelle is one of the most famous and appreciated photographer in the world. Born in Fairfield, CT in 1963, he embraced a post-pop style, in some surrealist sensibilities, which makes him unique in the world.
His artworks are exhibited in the most important public and private international collections and in many museums, among those: Musée D’Orsay, Paris; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles; The National Portrait Gallery, London; Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm e The National Portrait Gallery a Washington DC.
David LaChapelle lives and works in Los Angeles and Hawaii