"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 were 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."
His work is included in numerous public and private collections, and has been exhibited internationally at museums and institutions including the Musée D’Orsay, Paris; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); The National Portrait Gallery, London; and the Fotographfiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC will include LaChapelle’s work in the show American Cool, February – September 2014. LaChapelle lives and works in Maui, Hawaii.