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Lever House  

From Darkness to Light 

 New York, New York

June 2 - September 2, 2011

Press Release:


The three main components presented in From Darkness To Light stand alone, yet inform each other to create a unified installation, utilizing photography in three ways: collage, stickers and paper chain. The pieces are inspired by the simplicity of childhood endeavors taught in early art lessons, re-imagined through the lens of adulthood. This will engage the viewer in that collective, shared experience, by taking these elementary endeavors and elevating them through figurative imagery to transcend the medium. With an innocence of material and application, the ideas conceptualized visually evoke metaphysical questions that appear at the onset of adulthood and continue through out a life examined. Each of the four photography works are site specific but archival and could be moved, rearranged or re-hung elsewhere in the future. 

Artist Statement David LaChapelle
“Contemporary culture pre-disposes us to associate the figure in photography through the lens of pornography and commodity culture via the Internet and printed material. We are surrounded by women and men in advertisements, luring our eyes and wallets. In this exhibition, I seek a new visual renaissance; a re-imagining of the human form and its relationship to the divine. My installation at the Lever House highlights the nude body's redemptive and illuminating potential. In the context of contemporary photography, the proposed images function as hybrid between craft and traditional photographic image. This highlights the emancipation of the figure-freeing the human form from the bondage of photographic comodification and ultimately the cyclical connectedness between innocence and enlightenment. By invoking the Renaissance in the poses in a transcendent installation, I hope to delight, inspire, and intrigue the beholder, and in some way, resuscitate the figure from its current state of commodity.” 

Installation Adam, Swimming Under A Microscope “Plague Of An Ancient City”
Eve, Swimming Under A Microscope “Plague Of An Ancient City”
David uses translucent stickers depicting human figures (male and female in distinct installations) pressed to the glass windows of the Lever House, creating a complete circle of figures exclaiming across the face of the glass. Individually, the figures appear as they are swimming youth, joyful and carefree. From a distance, the forms merge into a collective. The work becomes an allegory of life itself, cell-like as life seen through a microscope. The individuality of a human being emerges into an ethereal vision of our cellular origin, the human origin. Here shines a glow through these transparent photographs individually adhered to the glass, and the window become like the stained glass rose windows of Notre Dame, Chartres or Reims Cathedral. This reference, in addition the content of the work, allows the piece to function as a magnification of the lineage of life and divinity. 

Raft Of Illusion, Raging Toward Truth
David constructed this collage from simple materials common in traditional collage art projects; paper, watercolor, and pencil and printed materials. Two components of his work take it beyond the rudimentary craft. He addresses scale by creating a collage of epic size; creating a dramatic scene which the viewer will feel part of. Further, he does not use appropriated material. Instead, David uses large scale photographs he took of a staged event, a tableau that he casted, directed and then photographed, only then, to cut, dissect and reconstruct the scene for emotional impact. Employing watercolor, pencil and paint, the collage format itself evokes the memory and experience of childhood crafting and art. In each cut and tear, singular and human hand of the artist is visible. These marks connect the viewers to the living, breathing humanity David focuses on in his work. The subjects of this collage represent interactions between the human and the natural worlds. 

Chain Of Life
The chains of the circled paper are created from photographs of the human form, front and back, thus transforming the playful grade school craft into a literal chain of connected bodies. Humanity is linked through the aching need of one being to affect or connect to the next. The linked photographs, the full human figures clinging to one another, are thus transformed into an endless chain of linear dependence. These chains will run diagonally through the lobby of the Lever House, weaving and curving, dipping and rising, leading the viewer the direction of the exterior installation, and ultimately, transforming the decorative roots of the paper chain into something deeper and more resonant. 

David Lachapelle 'From Darkness To Light' At Lever House In New York by Eric Villency


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