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Inscape of Beauty


Exhibition: David LaChapelle: Inscape of Beauty

Publication: Ara Modern Art Museum

Publication date: December, 2016

Credit: Ara Modern Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea

Format: 11 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches

Features: 197 Pages Text by David LaChapelle, Yohan Choi, and Reiner Opoku

Languages: Korean/ English


Forward by Curator, Reiner Opoku

David LaChapelle's colorful and provocative work has been a permanent fixture in the history of photography for more than three decades now. In his extraordinary pictorial compositions, hyperrealistic aesthetics meet social critique. LaChapelle's career began in New York in the 1980's, where Andy Warhol drew attention to his work at an early stage by giving him his first big photo assignments for the legendary Interview magazine. Shortly after, LaChapelle became an internationally sought after photographer. His unconventional photographic representations of celebrities received the utmost attention and caused a sensation. Since then, the artist has photographed countless celebrities in his unmistakable surrealist, sometimes erotic style.

LaChapelle's work tells of the vanity and volatility of glamor and beauty by adeptly interweaving fantastic dream worlds with ironic and satirical exaggerations. Since 2006, he has devoted himself to the development of conceptual themes, primarily for serial groups of works. In which, he not only deconstructs the glittering world of his earlier idols and more existential themes such as transience and spirituality, but also expresses a concern and awareness about the beauty and vulnerability of our planet. For example, in the series “Still Life”, LaChapelle evokes the fragility of the socially glorified world of glamor and questions the meaning of fame and representation. “Landscapes”, on the other hand, deals critically with the handling of fossil fuel resources and, in combination with Gas, confronts us with the power of nature, which in the end will outlast humanity.

Through the breathtaking beauty of his works, the artist creates an immediate access - the beauty thus functioning as a bridge leading the viewer to the core criticisms of society that are hidden behind the surface. The artist wants his photographic images to be seen by as many people as possible to elicit deep contemplation and potential social action: "I have always been convinced that art can change the world. I believe it to this day."

The comprehensive survey exhibition at the ARA Modern Art Museum represents all the decisive developments in David LaChapelle's oeuvre and presents a show that is honoring the complexity of his work in a unique way.

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