Photographs by David LaChapelle.
Damiani/Paul Kasmin Gallery, 2014. 88 pp., illustrated throughout, 13x12".
The latest monograph from David LaChapelle (born 1963) comprises two separate series, Gas Station and Refineries, each of which was shot on location in the rainforests of Maui and on the coastlines of California. This idyllic scenery is brutally punctured by LaChapelle's scale models of disturbingly dazzling oil refineries and petrol stations with bright, fluorescent smokestacks-handcrafted from cardboard and a vast array of recycled materials from egg cartons to tea canisters, hair curlers and other by-products of our petroleum-based, disposability-obsessed culture. The striking contrast between the fueling stations and refineries and their naturalistic backdrops is both captivating and repelling: though the natural world seems on the verge of engulfing these man-made creations, the eerie, unnaturally lit buildings suggest the extent of the destruction already caused, even as their chromatic glare distracts from their function.