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Forte Belvedere Museum

David LaChapelle

Florence, Italy

July 15 - October 19, 2008

Press Release:


More than 100 large photos, ranging from celebrity portraits to deeply-felt recent studies, mark the reopening of Forte Belvedere to contemporary art.

Following the anthological show in Milan’s Palazzo Reale last autumn, and preceding the large show in Paris planned for next February in the Musée de la Monnaie, David LaChapelle, from July 16 to October 19, 2008, will be the guest artist in the wonderful setting of Forte Belvedere. Over 100 works have been chosen by the curators and the artist himself, in harmony with the rooms and atmosphere of what can be considered one of the world’s most evocative exhibition spaces.

This Florentine exhibition has been originated and organized with the help of the Florence city council which has been sympathetic to the ideas of an artist who was struck by the magnificence of Forte Belvedere during a recent stay in the city.

Gianni Mercurio and Fred Torres, the curators, having continually reviewed the works, have now chosen the most meaningful and engrossing images created by the artist in over 15 years of activity, thus allowing us to follow a creative career that has undergone many deep changes.

The show, then, will be the opportunity to cast a new critical look at a vocation in which glamour is but one of the best-known and attractive aspects of his work. In fact the latest grand series such as: Deluge, Awakened, Museum or Heaven to Hell, will introduce the visitor to a new dimension of the artist’s work, one aimed at investigating the material and spiritual destiny and the hopes for rebirth of humanity in decline.

By looking beyond the glossy aspect of the images we can see, even in the less recent photographs, clues to the artist’s ability to create images that can be analysed at various levels.

This is evident in his famous portraits of international stars in which he pinpoints and pays tribute to their extravagances, perfections and defects, on occasion giving life to a genuine contemporary mythology; and it is also evident in those images which reflect the obsessions which nurture society: plastic surgery, sexual excess and transgressions, quirks of all kinds all of which are to be seen in the 12 sections into which the show is divided.

Above all the show has the advantage of making visible the complex work from which LaChapelle’s photographs grew: all the cultural, literary, and artistic sources he makes use of are documented here, not only his extraordinary and intense relationship with the work of Michelangelo, but also a series of works in which he revisits and quotes in a personal way the art of the past, ranging from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages to Surrealism and Pop Art.

There will also be a film devoted to the preparation and realization of Deluge and which shows its complex and sophisticated creation.

This event will be the occasion for getting to know one of the most creative personalities on the contemporary art scene; it is also part of a plan which, by increasing the cultural input of Forte Belvedere, the historical venue for great shows, will create an axis, together with other events in the Boboli gardens and in Villa Bardini, that this season will put Florence back at the heart of contemporary art in Italy.

The exhibition, curated by Gianni Mercurio and Fred Torres, is promoted by the Florence city government’s cultural office and is organized and developed by Giunti Arte mostre musei, Alphaomega Art, and Fine Art Account.

For more information please visit the Fore Belvedere Museum website

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