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Posts Tagged ‘David LaChapelle’

The Sebastian Guinness Gallery on Burlington Road (just round the corner from Mespil Road’s eponymous hotel) is currently playing host to a short and typically saccharine-sweet exhibition of David LaChapelle photography. Well known for his gaudy, hypersurreal celebrity portraits, ad campaigns and fashion editorials, the majority of LaChapelle’s work drips off the screen in vivid hues and varying amounts of raunch, kitsch, campery and bling – in some instances, all at once.

Would-Be Martyr And 72 Virgins

“American Jesus” appears to be a compilation of existing work with only a handful of new pieces, but it’s worth a trip to see LaChapelle’s full technicolour brilliance blown up large and more in your face than ever. As the title attests, religious-themed work of all creeds dominates. There’s a full replication of his 2003 “Jesus Is My Homeboy” editorial for i-D Magazine, depicting Christ as
a latter-day dude with a coterie of leisurewear- and tat-sporting apostles;
his “Archangel Michael” tribute to Jacko; the Gulliveresque “Would-Be Martyr” surrounded by 72 Bratzy virgins; and the “Candy Mosque”, looking good enough to eat (which would surely be a sacrilege upon a sacrilege).

Last Supper

There’s a nod to Michelangelo’s “La Pieta” (taken from his 2005 “Heaven To Hell” collection) with Courtney Love cradling a suspiciously Kurty Jesus.
And there are the fabulous ensemble works “Deluge” and “Cathedral”, which draw inspiration from the Great Flood, with the former in particular depicting a drowing society brought down by consumerism – ironic indeed from the man with the most excessive eye in the genre.

Cathedral

Speaking of consumerism, the first of two distinctly untypical subsets of LaChapelle’s work on display, “Negative Currency”, presumably took its place as a commentary on the greatest Western religion of them all – the almighty dollar – while the second, a selection of the eerily serene underwater portraits which made up his 2007 “Awakened” collection (are they going towards the surface,
or going towards the light?), is possibly LaChapelle at his most minimal and sombre. A watermelon sorbet amongst the knickerbocker glory of everything else on show, it’s not what you’d expect, and all the more outstanding for it.

Job Awakened

“American Jesus” is open Tuesdays-Saturdays 11-6 until 31st October, and is well worth a look on your lunch break – just don’t have dessert before you go.

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