“LaChapelle lures and repels in equal measure and questions the assumptions we make about our petroleum-dependent culture”
Characteristically deceptive, the series seemingly depicts oil refineries as temples of energy production shot in glorious technicolour. On closer inspection we realise that these are far from real, rather we notice oddly recognisable objects – mobile phones, cans, egg cartons, drinking straws – a plethora of repurposed by-products of our disposable age – making up gigantic complexly handcrafted scenes. Made out of cardboard and a vast array of recycled materials these scapes were then shot variously in the Californian desert or in the artist’s LA studio, in production for over two years. They lure and repel in equal measure and question the assumptions we make about our petroleum-dependent culture, the recycling of energy and the consequences of recycling it irresponsibly. They appear magical, but LaChapelle would ultimately have us remember the decidedly unmagical consequences of the reality.