David LaChapelle solo exhibition in Holland

Good news for modern man: the future is bright. If you need any convincing to pop over to the pretty city of Groningen in Holland, the David LaChapelle solo exhibition should sway you in the right direction. Not the most obvious place to showcase the photographer’s raunchy images (after all, he has a history photographing Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga), but this latest anthology returns to his artistic roots, and complement Groningen’s old town juxtaposed with modern buildings, which nestle on the canal in the north of the Netherlands.

David LaChapelle The Rape of Africa

Known for producing experimental fashion editorials, commercials and music videos for high profile clients, LaChapelle has worked with every big name in the industry, and is one of the most respected and in demand photographers around the world; So it is interesting to find that the Gronginger Museum, already owns one of his controversial, hyper stylised works, and is the place he chose for his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.

To the broad minded Dutch nation- naked bodies, interracial relationships and liberal religious views are widely acceptable, and a show that comments on sexuality, birth, death and nature in an idyllic, utopian world would appear to be the perfect partnership. Taking over the modernistic Museum (which was redesigned by Philippe Starck and Alessandro Mendini) adds a unique, modern focus to the university town. Situated in a central location on the canal, and directly opposite the ancient architecture of the train station it offers a juxtaposition of eras, but this is something that works so well in Holland.

A bit of a rebel himself, LaChapelle ran away to New York aged 15, and worked as a busboy in Studio 54. Immersing himself in glamorous New York disco scene, he got to know the “It” crowd and partied with the movers and shakers of the eighties pop art scene including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It is also where he was introduced to Andy Warhol and his infamous “Factory”. Already photographing people, LaChapelle soon gained recognition for his uniquely raw images. Snapped up by Warhol, he became the photographer for ‘Interview’ magazine and exhibited alongside other 80s pioneers Doug Aitken and Karen Kilimnik.

His style emphasising lewd, larger than life subjects became him trademark, and he embraced the flamboyant characters of the nineties and noughties. Celebrities, high fashion magazines and advertising clients were queuing up to get immersed in La Chapelle’s irreverent gaze- where anti-perfection was approved and surrealism encouraged.  However, the celebrity bubble seems to have peaked for LaChapelle, as his more recent work is a much more personal representation of transfiguration, regaining paradise, and the notion of life after death.

David LaChapelle The Rape of Africa

Breaking boundaries, La Chapelle uses fine art as a basis for his work and is the first to admit he explores the darker side of reality. Often using props, he is the master of creating make believe worlds where anything is possible. The hyper-real landscapes blend urban and suburban environments to create a make believe setting which is also super real and accessible. This form of art is contrary to what other commercial photographers were presenting, and opened up a niche market for emotions.

In fact, after shooting every celebrity (and their dog) in 2006, he stepped away from commercial work, retreating to an isolated former nudist colony in Maui, Hawaii to focus on fine-art photography and farming. Whether this break was a rejection of the fast moving lifestyle where celebrity photography comes with its own celebrity or it was a time to reflect as he openly talks about his friends who died of AIDS, his consequential work has a more personal influence.

David-LaChapelle-The-House-at-the-End-of-the-World-2005

‘Good News for Modern Man’ is filled with sins and redemption is a deeply personal insight into LaChapelle’s life. With over 70 pieces, the narrative is as jerky as it is unanticipated, yet it seems to flow. Clearly inspired by fine artists Edward Hopper, William Blake and the Old Masters, LaChapelle has a knack of combining the two disciplines -fusing photography with art; Resulting in large scale representations of joy, lust, and paradise which are symbolic and timeless.

Mostly, these works reject the material world and are deeply spiritual or religious, with obvious reference to the greats. In particular, you can recognise Michelangelo’s ‘Renaissance’ in ‘The Deluge’ series. An immersive piece of art which engulfs the viewer in the ginormous seven metres wide span. On closer inspection you can see the sitters are big names from celebritydom, with Kanye West as Jesus, Lil’ Kim as the Virgin Mary and Naomi Campbell as Venus, which might be highly irreverent for some.

Part of LaChapelle’s work is tongue in cheek. Courting exploitation, he chooses religion to express popularity; Nothing is sacred or forbidden and his modern day representation of religious icons brings a new dimension to opinions of life after death and questions the metaphysical side of life.

With a clear shift in focus from commercial commissions, this exhibition displays LaChapelle’s personal and intuitive concepts. Split into categories. ‘New World’ shares his personal search for Eden using thinly disguised biblical references which have the background of his sanctuary in Hawaii. However these pieces are seen more as art than photography as the two disciplines are fused to produce hyper-surreal images which burst into thousands of colours in front of you.

Lachapelle-blancanieves

The exhibition will no doubt question the viewer’s spiritual beliefs, and LaChapelle even questions himself on how long modern art actually lasts. It is a must-see for anyone with an inquisitive nature as the show is not just about the artworks, but is an important slice of history which makes a profound commentary on the contemporary world.

The exhibition LaChapelle: Good News For Modern Man can be seen from 21 April to 28 October 2018.

Head to Groningen for the exhibition and stay the weekend. This up and coming city is well worth a visit and only two hours from Amsterdam, you can have the perfect weekend away!

Jesus is my homeboy

FACTBOX

Gronginger Museum

*Hotel*

A pretty, listed 4star hotel,  dating back to the 15th century.

NH Groningen Hotel de Ville

Oude Boteringestraat 43-45, 9712 GD Groningen

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*Canal Trip*

The perfect way to see the city without walking across the cobbles.

Rondvaartbedrijf Kool

Stationsweg 1012, 9726 AZ Groningen

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*Restaurant*

Delicious, healthy modern cuisine. Open late, but must book.

Brasserie  Midi

Folkingestraat 42, Groningen

FAULT Focus: Ewa Wilczynski’s ‘THROES’, The Royal Academy of Arts

 

Stood amidst an enchanted crowd and the dramatic grandeur of the Senate Rooms at the Royal Academy of Arts, with her large-scale paintings on the walls and metallic couture by Inbar Spector cascading around her, FAULT Favourite Ewa Wilczynski made a creative declaration that she is truly one to watch.

'Ewa' (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd for FAULT Magazine

‘Ewa’ (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd for FAULT Magazine

As Wilczynski’s debut solo exhibition, THROES marks only three years since the artist graduated in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins (by way of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.) As a document of how her artistic practice has taken shape, the idea of transition was central to the exhibition. The title itself – taken from one of the most striking works in the show – conjures ideas of being in-between emotional and physical states, with an undercurrent of violent intensity that permeates the dramatic power of the paintings. Rendered in thick oil, and in shades of violet, red, black and blue, Wilczynski’s works depict phantasmagorical landscapes where disembodied figures turn in circles around each other, recognisable as self-portraits but with a Surrealist gesture that dislocates them from the real world.

“I think of it as a collaboration; I paint my personal myth and you, the spectator, fuse your own personal world to it. The paintings become this thin place in between where the two worlds collide and internal polarity comes to the surface.

 

The paintings are a membrane-that skin between my world and your world.”

'Ewa' (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd for FAULT Magazine

‘Ewa’ (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd for FAULT Magazine

The real world is something that Wilczynski shows little interest in, and her work speaks to a mysticism and personal mythology that she frames in terms of philosophy and psychoanalysis. The work in THROES was influenced by Jacques Derrida’s ‘Hymen’ theory; centred on the interplay of inside/outside, the work becomes an intersection and membrane between the artist and spectator, with the painting (the hymen) as a sort of skin.

This blurring of boundaries in the work lends a certain vulnerability to its exhibition and existence in the gallery space. The scale and intensity of the paintings is almost overwhelming, not only for the viewer but for the diminutive physical stature of Wilczynski herself. Standing against her own canvases, the collisions of figures and thunderous elements tower above her, looming over her shoulders. At THROES, the high-ceilinged rooms of the Royal Academy were heavily scented with lavender, making reference to historical exhibitions of the Sublime, and one display cabinet consciously echoed the format of the Wunderkammer in Renaissance Europe. Combined with the grandeur and decorative interior of the Senate Rooms, and the chanting beat of an electronic paean devised and DJ’d by Alexander Price, the exhibition again challenged our modern standard for white-walled exhibition display.

“all of us have our own little worlds and our personal myths … within my work, the painting is almost a way to encapsulate that, and close that gap.”

'Ewa' (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd for FAULT Magazine

‘Ewa’ (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd for FAULT Magazine

Ewa has said that her next body of paintings will be different in aesthetic, and THROES is the supreme example of just how quickly styles and motifs emerge across her work. She has shown that her creativity and imagination are remarkably intense, matching her determination and work ethic (in recent months she has also collaborated on projects with Lulu Guinness and spent time with David LaChapelle in Los Angeles.) Having drawn so much attention and praise for THROES, we know we are not the only ones waiting with bated breath for her next offering.

 

www.ewawilczynski.co.uk

All photographs by Kurtiss Lloyd

ART13: Exclusive Review for FAULT Issue 14

The first three days of March saw London Olympia Transformed into an exciting hub of contemporary art, packed with international collectors, artists, gallery owners and anyone with an interest in art.  

This is ART13.

ART13

photography LOUIS SHERIDAN; text CAROLINE DE BREF

 

Art13’s debut was extremely well received and attended and the fair will doubtless build up as an important event in the global art calendar.

VIP day was very busy with a number of major collectors and a few surprise visitors.

Harry Styles of One Direction turned up and bought Ben Turnbull’s small gun-behind-glass sculpture, In Case of Emergency, along with several other works for his new house.

Other guests included Ron Dennis, executive chairman of the McLaren Group, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, American businessman and majority shareholder in Arsenal Football Club, Stan Kroenke, and Dasha Zhukova.

Pearl Lam Galleries, eponymously named after its flamboyant owner, had two stands turned into one and drew a great deal of attention because of the large, bold works, including several by Zhu Jinshi, previously profiled in B Beyond Magazine, FAULT’s sister publication.

On display at our stand at Art 13Michael Taylor‘s ‘Wave 39’ (as seen in FAULT Issue 12)

FAULT had a media stand, along with B Beyond and the Linveco Cultural Foundation (a registered UK charity supporting multi-disciplinary creative talent). The stand showcased not just different issues of both publications but also the works of some of the artists/members of the foundation who have contributed cover artwork and been featured in the periodicals, such as Christy Lee Rogers, Anthony Russell and Michael Taylor [examples of works on display are shown above & below].

christy lee Rogers_0197_The Unending Journey

On display at our stand at Art 13Christy Lee Rogers‘s ‘The Unending Journey’

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 14 (SPRING ’13) – THE TASTE ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER HERE NOW.

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40. Get your single issue  for just £7.20

FAULT announce media partnership with London Art Fair Art 13

FAULT Magazine are pleased to announce that we will be official media partners for the prestigious new London art fair for contemporary and modern work, Art 13.

The fair takes place in just under a month from 1-3 March at London’s huge and historic Kensington Olympia venue. More information on our stand, to be shared with sister publications B Beyond Magazine and the Art Collector, in addition to the Linveco Cultural Foundation, will be announced later this month.

For the time being, read more about Art 13 in FAULT Issue 13, out now in print and digital:

art 13

Art 13 featured in FAULT Issue 13. For more information on Art 13, please visit www.artfairslondon.com