David LaChapelle 'Gas Stations'
December 11th 2013 until end of January 2014
Gas stations, seen from some future place and time, will be uncovered as architectural relics of a lost world, like the Aztec temples or Easter Island. Future cultures, with other concerns, will wonder about their significance. How did they get there? Why where they built? How did they contribute to the rise and fall of this civilization?
Since the meteorite that caused the last ice age, no event has changed the earth or humanity as much as the recent use of fossil fuels. No war, religion, society, or political structure has impacted us more greatly in all history. Over the last 150 years (the industrial revolution) oil has become the earths’ one unifying religion, gas stations our one common temple. All facets of the modern world are made possible through the use of fossil fuels. Agriculture, transportation, and the explosion in population are omnipresent across borders of countries and beliefs. Due to a cataclysmic event that radically changed the environment, forests buried under ice became fossil fuel. Ironically we now pump that same CO2 back into the atmosphere today.
The Gas Stations were shot on location in the rain forests of Maui. This ancient jungle can engulf the past, and at the same time represent the very matter that created the fuel. Recalling the calm emptiness of an Edward Hopper painting, the Gas Stations are a new take on the American landscape. They exemplify an isolation that proliferates and is built deeply into our culture. The analog scale models show the imperfections of a human hand, much in the same way that our man made system of creating energy is imperfect. However these images are not didactic, neither condemning, or condoning. They just are, they are what made our world possible. Its what we do with our approach now, which will decide our fate.
David LaChapelle was born in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1968, work between New York and Los Angeles and lives between Los Angeles and Hawaii.