A rectrospective retracing the whole artistic production of David LaChapelle is on display at the Galleria Mucciaccia in the very center of Rome. On view a large number of artworks by the American artist: in fact thirtyfour photos are displayed, from his most recent pictures through to the ones from 1980s, when he abandons working for high fashion magazines and other publications to pursue his interest in contemporary art.
Unexpected landscapes and Hawaiian atmospheres, dreamy suggestions and mythological figures, colours and amazing composition of the images: these are the settings recreated in David LaChapelle’s pictures in his post-Pop and in some ways surrealist style.
The exhibition is some sort of journey through time, starting from his most recent series New World, Lost and Found and Behold (evocative photographs shot in 2017 in the pristine Hawaiian rainforest, dense with mysticism and spirituality), to his early pictures taken in Los Angeles. The show includes two big panels from the series Aristocracy (2014), the monumental Showtime at the Apocalypse (2013), the Kardashian family’s famous Christmas picture, Landscape, the floral Earth Laughs in Flowers, and Rape of Africa (2009), a provocative work against the violence suffered by the African continent. It is named after the homonymous project presented in 2008, with Naomi Campbell as the African Venus.
In 2007 LaChapelle visited Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and was impressed by his art. That same year can be considered as a turning point in the artistic production of LaChapelle that, under this influence, produced the series The deluge and After the deluge. The reference to the masterpiece by Michelangelo is mixed with that of consumer society brands, generating an apocalyptic vision with an ending, a grand finale in which objects, works of art and people appear submerged by water, such as in Cathedral, Statue and Awakened.
Curated by LaChapelle Studio and Galleria Mucciaccia, the exhibition also includes a series of photographs created between 1984 and 2009, depicting personalities from the entertainment world and Hollywood stars, including the three portraits of Michael Jackson, that celebrate his media beatification; the Hollywood portrait of Faye Dunaway in Day of the Locust (1996); Dynamic Nude and the only black and white photograph taken in New York, Good News for Modern Man, dating back to 1984.
The show is accompanied by a catalogue (Carlo Cambi Editore).
Paola Sammartano is a journalist specialized in arts and photography based in Milan, Italy
From April 18 until June 18, 2019
largo della Fontanella Borghese 89, Rome