In a career spanning 30 years, David LaChapelle (b. 1963) has developed an imagery that blurs boundaries and created a universe of his own, which embraces people of all genders, colours, body types and ages. His photographs are influenced by everything from movies and amateur photography to art history and pornography, which he transforms into elements of his artistic vision. LaChapelle’s border-transgressing aesthetics combines conventions from commercial and artistic photography and comprises the ideals of classical art as well as an alternative contemporary perspective, with roots in popular and subculture.
For Fotografiska, David has a very special significance. Four years ago, Jan and Per Broman organised a presentation of LaChapelle’s work in Nacka. The exhibition was a great success and prompted them to create Fotografiska: an inspiring meeting place that has developed into one of the world’s most prominent venues for photography. Today we celebrate this with a presentation of LaChapelle’s largest exhibition to date, Burning Beauty, which comprises over 250 works, music videos and films. This is the first, and possibly only, time that we will devote the entire museum to a single artist for a period of three months. The presentation includes photographs from all periods of his career, from the 1980s to the present day, organised under thematic headings. The top floor of the exhibition is dedicated to a premiere viewing of the artist’s most recent series: Still Life (2012).
David LaChapelle is best known for his glamorous and absurd images from the world of fashion, celebrities and models, but this exhibition presents all the aspects of his oeuvre. On display are early black-and-white photographs as well as his more recent culture-critical motifs and art historical paraphrases. The ability of the photograph to transcend the limitations of the real world and the everyday is an overall theme that interconnects LaChapelle’s work. With his imagery, he combines consumer culture’s glossy and naked aesthetics with a gaze characterised by a persistent social critique and a sincere aspiration for spirituality, beauty and the divine.
David LaChapelle’s iconography is firmly anchored in the heart of the turbulent visual culture of recent decades and offers a mosaic of passion, humour, exaggeration and critical reflection. His perspective is often paradoxical and the drastic address is captivating and invites the viewer to laugh, enjoy, critique, reflect and debate.
Curators: Patrik Steorn, Min-Jung Jonsson