“The fall of the icons“ F.Nietzsche
DAVID LACHAPELLE is one of the world's most famous photographers.
His book Hotel Lachapelle is a best seller which anchored his international notoriety.
- Star systems, saturated pop colors, kitsh/baroque staging - spiritual heir of Andy WARHOL (whom he rubbed shoulders with), he celebrates his collaboration with the famous gallerist Daniel TEMPLON (himself gallerist for WARHOL) with two series of images that are a landmark in his dazzling career: Leonardo Da VINCI'S The last supper, (which is also Warhol’s last masterpiece) and “STILL LIFE” which could be called “living still lives”.
This icon hunter - from Pamela ANDERSON to Leonardo DI CAPRIO or MADONNA - heard about the destruction of their wax statues by hooligans, in a Dublin museum, and decided to take pictures of them. He resumed his quest in many other wax museums in the US, in California and Nevada.
He reinvents Da Vinci's The last supper where the chopped hands and heads of Jesus and his apostles are set in cardboard boxes with a vanity decor or, simply put, a coffin. The 12 feet long panoramic image of these boxes strangely resemble a Calvary or a polyptich arrangement in a church.
Lachapelle’s stations! 10 years ago, in his iconic “Jesus is my homeboy” of 2003, he recreated the last supper with bits and pieces of the American Pie: streetboys, latinos, junkies etc. surrounding the Christ's sacred figure!
Street culture meets religion. LACHAPELLE preaches for his own church, and ponders over the meeting between hyper materialism and the spiritual. This great director represents the other side of the coin and the leftovers of the last supper (a metaphor for the media’s cannibalism perhaps). Hands and heads float between horror and sacred mystery.
In « Still Life », he uses planetary icons almost as huge as the Christ, who end up in pieces like in David CRONENBERG's "CRASH" or after the zombie attack in Georges ROMERO's “Night of the living dead”.
Also displayed in boxes and as a series, the police detective /coffin aspects reveal morbid, even deathly thoughts, a predominant subject.
Reading the questions between the lines of LaChapelle’s work, as a man who has worked all his life with celebrities and iconized them in intricate settings, they are mostly about the future of these celebrities, in a time where we see live Ukrainian Barbie dolls, the vampirizing aspects of the media who engage people to idolize these celebrities through heavy coverage and thus precipitate their fall (NIETZSCHE), or "the heavier the fall", see: GAINSBOURG to flatter the voracious instinct of the sentimental crowds. Rise and Fall, see: Mickael JACKSON’S death!
Since 1959 Kenneth ANGER has been the first great advocate of decadent behavior, sex and scandals, in his two Hollywood Babylon volumes. Babylon! since the Romans, everything has changed, nothing has changed. To please the crowds and blow smoke on the real issues at hand, give them bread and games… circus games.
« Panem et circenses » today, as we go through society’s third digital revolution, we need employment and icons to love and to kill. Perverse pleasure of killing what we once loved “each man kills the things he loves” Oscar WILDE.
This guilty pleasure is constantly fed by the tabloids and celebrities magazines, until celebrity is idolized for itself, without anything else behind it, it’s the consecration of nothingness.
Following his spiritual master WARHOL whose body of work is laced with glamour and death, he displays a very clinical and critical analysis of a technological and hyper-mediatic society, in real time, with social networks so fast that they reflect the precarious celebrity of individuals, and their quick fall into oblivion. “Easy come, easy go”, International Amnesia.
The 15 minutes of Wharolian fame depicted by our modern time Nostradamus date back to 1968! Today one minute is good enough for most people, but with David LACHAPELLE, stars, from whichever constellation, should watch out before they become only the shadows of a star light.
POST POP and POST MORTEM. MEMENTO MORI
Galerie Daniel Templon
Still Life ©David Lachapelle
Leonardo DiCaprio, Princess Diana, John F.Kennedy.
Last Supper ©David Lachapelle
Report & interview Sabine Morandini & Lisa Shelley
Translator Delphine Dalquié
Galerie Daniel Templon
30 rue Beaubourg et Impasse Beaubourg