Creative Exchange Agency proudly presents, In Earth Laughs In Flowers by David LaChapelle, which appropriates the traditional Baroque still life painting in order to explore contemporary vanity, vice, the transience of earthly possessions and, ultimately, the fragility of humanity. Expectations of the still life are satisfied through the inclusion of symbolic objects such as fruit, flowers and skulls, but also upended by the insertion of everyday items such as cell phones, cigarette butts, balloons, Barbies, and a Starbuck’s iced coffee cup. This last effect is exacerbated by a tortuous disorderliness overwhelming the composition. The resulting photographs achieve a painterly, almost sculptural quality, thereby challenging the traditions of painting.
The title Earth Laughs in Flowers comes from the poem Hamatreya (1846) by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), in which flowers articulate nature’s ridicule and contempt for human arrogance in the pretense to dominion over earth.
Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet,
Clear of the grave.
The titles of the works refer to the cycles of the seasons and of life: Springtime, Late Summer, Early Fall, Deathless Winter, and Concerning the Soul. In typical memento mori fashion, the works invite us in, beg our self-reflection, and remind us to enjoy life before it’s over.
Earth Laughs in Flowers
Until March 24, 2012
Fred Torres Collaborations
527 West 29th Street
New York, NY 10001