Earth Laughs in Flowers by David LaChapelle makes its American debut at Fred Torres Collaborations on February 23, 2012 and features a selection of bright, colorful still-lifes that juxtapose bouquets of fresh flowers with common objects like balloons and cell phones. As one of the most prominent genres seen in Northern European art throughout the course of the 18th-century, the floral still-life initially served as an allegory to the ephemeral disposition of time.
David LaChapelle mixes flowers with commodities to expose this icon’s shift from allegory to appeasement of desire. Drawing from his background as a commercial photographer, the artist presents elaborate arrangements of blossoms that dwarf more contemporary details such as spiderwebs, plastic packages of fruit, canned condiments, masks, toys, plastic cups and Jell-o. Deathless Winter (2011) for instance, portrays cellophane-wrapped flowers sitting in the midst of medical paraphernalia, diluting the grandeur that staged bouquets once had.
However throughout the remaining photographs on view in Earth Laughs in Flowers, the historic still-life drowns out LaChapelle’s other contemporary twists which then appear as gestures of irony. Meanwhile bouquets have become symbols of memorials, both living and dead, functioning less as commentaries on personal greed and vice. The vibrant colors within these sweeping arrangements of a by-gone representation generate nostalgia and a feeling of unanswered wish fulfillment.
Earth Laughs in Flowers will be on view at Fred Torres Collaborations from February 23rdto March 24th, 2012.