The ancient lemon house of the Palace of Venaria Reale, next to Turin, will be hosting an amazing exhibition dedicated toDavid LaChapelle from June 13th to January 2020.
David LaChapelle made his name by shooting celebrities colliding with consumer detritus: baubles, flowers, and fame recombining in delirious explosions of color.
In the nineties and early aughts, his slick aesthetic, which lifts lavishly from Christian pageantry and Renaissance painters, was inescapable, splashed across fashion editorials, advertisements, and music videos.
David LaChapelle is known internationally for his exceptional talent in combining a unique hyper-realistic aesthetic with profound social messages.
By 2007, having been derided in some quarters as a vapid commercialist, he’d left the business and absconded to Maui, where he lived off the grid at a shuttered nudist colony.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, he said that he’d needed to escape the “propaganda” embedded in his work. “I never wanted to shoot another pop star as long as I lived,” he said. “I was tortured by them”.
At the exhibition we will see the portraits of his best friends such as Michael and Janet Jackson, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, Jeff Koons, Madonna, Uma Thurman and David Bowie …It follows that someone like LaChapelle, given to extremes, would want to give us his vision of paradise.
He’s embraced his spirit of excess down to the finest detail, creating a burlesque pastoral that feels, as it sinks in, disarmingly sincere. “Behold a New World” depicts three saintly figures around a tent of pink silk, their hands clasped in prayer, a waterfall pouring behind them.
“Forever” looks on as four ebullient travelers sail in a gondola of blossoms and palm leaves, one of them in an enormous feathered headdress. All of this is garishly New Age, but, as an antidote to the many poisons of “Lost + Found,” it works.
LaChapelle has made no secret of his faith, and “Good News,” with one foot in Christendom and the other in pagan myth, aims at purity without lapsing into self-seriousness.