Sebastian Guinness Gallery Circa 2009-2011


For a number of years this was the Sebastian Guinness Gallery's website.
Content is from the site's 2009 -2011 archived pages providing just a glimpse of what this gallery offered.
The Sebastian Guinness Gallery is permanently closed.

Sebastian Guinness Gallery
42 Dawson Street
Dublin 2, Ireland. 
T: +353 1 679 2014
F: +353 1 679 2013





David LaChapelle was born in Connecticut in 1969. He trained as a fine artist at North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to New York. Upon his arrival, LaChapelle enrolled at both the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts.

Not yet out of high school, he was offered his professional job by Andy Warhol to shoot for Interview Magazine. LaChapelle's images have forged a singular style that is unique, original and perfectly unmistakable. He has photographed personalities as diverse as: Tupac Shakur, Kayne West, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Amanda Lepore, Eminem, Philip Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Pamela Anderson, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Taylor, David Beckham, Paris Hilton, Jeff Koons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Clinton, Muhammed Ali, and Britney Spears, to name just a few.

Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for the most prestigious international publications and has been the subject of exhibitions in both commercial galleries and leading public institutions worldwide.

American Jesus an Exhibition by David LaChapelle

September 19th - November 28th at our Connaught House Gallery, Burlington Road, Dublin 4. 
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday 11-6pm


Observation: What an exciting show to see. I was lucky enough to catch it when I was in Ireland visiting relatives. LaChapelle's images are both bizarre and gorgeous. He has certainly forged a singular fine art photography style that is unique, original, and perfectly unmistakable. I took my younger cousins to the show, knowing that the representation of the subject matter for my elderly aunt and uncle might be too much. Much of the conversation prior to going to the exhibition was about the IT work I do for an e-commerce site in the US that sells not only janitorial supplies, but also restaurant, and office supplies to both the wholesale and retail markets. My aunt thought it was hilarious how I could speak knowledgeably about such janitorial supplies as commercial garbage bags from biohazard waste bags, to kitchen trash bags, to the large 51-60 gallon and high density trash bags used on construction sites. And when I extolled the virtues of certain paper products or cleaning products over others, she declared I would be the perfect catch for a woman. She wouldn't have to do any shopping for janitorial household products since not only did I know my stuff, but I also knew the best place to buy them. You do get an extra discount from where you work, she asked. After the exhibition visit, all my cousins could talk about was David LaChapelle. Which was fine with me. Too much attention can get overwhelming. And let's face it, there is a lot to discuss regarding David LaChapelle's work.


David LaChapelle: “If I could choose any period to have been an artist, it would definitely be the Baroque”

The artist-photographer discusses his affinity with the dynamism, drama and spirituality of 17th-century art

By Adrian Dannatt | April 2009
Published online 15 Apr 09

Star artist-photographer David LaChapelle is a committed fan of the Baroque, whether the show opening this month at the V&A; in London or the exhibition at the Bargello in Florence, “Living Marble: Bernini and the Birth of the Baroque Portrait Bust”, which he singled out in these pages as one of the best happening this year. Any connection between this “porno-chic” snapper notorious for ultra-gloss images of decadent celebrity-culture and Catholic 17th-century devotional imagery seems considerably less improbable after pondering their mutual devotion to high artifice and grand effect. For LaChapelle (surely an almost baroque name in itself despite his all-American origins in Fairfield, Connecticut) builds his vast, labyrinthine images with a scale, grandeur and drama whose excesses rival those of any Pietro da Cortona painted ceiling. Like baroque art, LaChapelle’s work always strives for direct emotional involvement, a visceral appeal aimed at the senses, to impress even the simplest visitor. Like baroque artists, he explores repeated and varied patterns, abundant details, thunderously bright polychromy, all in deliberate promotion of a populist conception of the function of art. Thus LaChapelle has coined an iconography that is direct, simple, obvious and dramatic, its broad and heroic tendencies suggesting not only the intensity and immediacy of the Baroque but most importantly its overall sense of awe.

The Art Newspaper: Do you see the Baroque in your work?


David LaChapelle: I’ve been called a lot of things, and “baroque” is one of the better. Of course there is a link because I love the baroque period so much. Also because it’s just so diverse, you have everything from Caravaggio to Andrea Pozzo, that guy who does this giant “Apotheosis of St Ignatius”, some giant, crazy painting all over that ceiling [in the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Rome]. It’s so dramatic, so over the top, it encompasses so much. The Baroque is always dramatic, always dynamic, with that element of spirituality. To me it’s everything I love, everything. I’m not comparing myself to the masters…yet! But when I started having to do celebrity portraits for Interview magazine, I would always try to define that person within that portrait, flattering or not, to capture them. If that celebrity were to die, this would be the image that summed them up.

TAN: Your use of bold, bright colour is baroque itself.

DL: These artists have really, really inspired me. We do live in a different world today, but if I could choose any period to have been an artist, it would definitely be the Baroque.

TAN: Is the veneration of celebrities now almost religious?

DL: I have always been fascinated by the idea of religious ecstasy, whether crying over the Jonas Brothers or the Beatles. It’s the same emotion, the apparition, whether Elvis or the Virgin Mary, it’s definitely some sort of devotional ecstasy, fainting, swooning. The supernatural comes into play a lot in celebrity, along with the transience; the impermanence of life I am always very drawn to.

TAN: The celebrity can also gain a sort of immortality?

DL: Well they’re meant to have immortality, at the time we think they’re going to last forever and then just two years later we see how old they look. As soon as they age or gain weight, it’s over. I could name celebrities I work with who are supposed to be huge superstars then they get fat. They’re going to be the next big thing, supposed to play Bat Girl and then they start calling her Fat Girl! It’s over! But the permanent in baroque art really was permanent.

The Catholic Church called on the Baroque to invigorate people, to draw them into the church. Celebrity definitely stirs up the same sort of emotions. Also it’s interesting that at a certain point the Baroque was thought to be really tasteless—in the 18th century Bernini and even Michelangelo were considered tasteless. And I definitely know myself about walking the line with the tasteless.

TAN: Some believe that the Council of Trent decreed that, for the sake of the illiterate, painting and sculpture should not obscure the religious message and that this was the beginning of the Baroque.

DL: Well I’m not going to say I make my work for less-educated people—that sounds like something the Catholic Church might say. I come from the school of Diego Rivera, making art for everyone, appealing to every sort of person. Right now I have this show in Paris which is breaking attendance records, it’s mostly kids, such a diverse group of people because I actually make an attempt to give a narrative, tell a story. I don’t want my work to be something just for an elite little group of art critics, there’s enough of that work already. You walk round art fairs and you have to have someone explain to you what the work means: “Oh I see…that ball of yarn and that projection, I see now.” I have a huge love of contemporary art but at a certain point I feel, “Enough!” These artists who are not making any attempt at all to communicate, it’s so obscure, their intellectual and conceptual reasons for it, but only looking to reach that tiny elite audience. And that is something that doesn’t interest me at all, either as an audience-member or as an art-maker myself.

TAN: Jeff Koons is another artist interested in baroque kitsch.

DL: For sure, I love Jeff. My favourite stuff was the ceramics like Michael Jackson. I think he’s such a funny and such a sweet guy. The first time I ever met him he was totally obsessed with this girl: he brought me into this room and there were just stacks of porno magazines—it was La Cicciolina. He was obsessed! It was so innocent somehow, even with his “double-penetration” and coming all over her face and he hadn’t even met her yet. I was, like, “Dude…” I mean the power of manifestation going from being this devoted fan to actually marrying her, that’s the real deal.

TAN: Koons collects art of all periods. Do you?

DL: When I first started making money—which I never expected as I didn’t even finish high school and in America that’s meant to mean you’re poor for life—I started collecting art by my contemporaries. I tried the stock market for a little while, but then realised I would never understand those numbers, so I started buying people I knew when I was just a kid in the East Village. I made some pretty good choices. Naturally I collected work by my first boss Andy [Warhol], drawings and paintings when prices were very good at that time, then I bought Keith Haring’s very last painting, a huge canvas, from Tony Shafrazi and I have at least 20 drawings by him too. I also have works by some younger people like Cecily Brown, but I think baroque art is out of my price range.

TAN: Mary Magdalene was supposedly a woman who had a wild time, bordering on the wanton…

DL: That’s the legend the Catholic Church wanted to make her into, who knows; she might have been Jesus’s wife for all we know. Caravaggio’s painting people he got off the street, having them pose as the Holy Family, dressing them in clothes of that day—that was really shocking, almost blasphemous.

TAN: Is Mary Magdalene’s mythology like that of celebrities today?

DL: I think the redemption here is our soap opera, having worked with so many of these people for so long, especially with Paris [Hilton] since the beginning. When Princess Diana had her big fairy-tale wedding, we lived our fantasy romantic life through her in a positive, aspirational way. Then when we found out about her cutting herself, throwing herself down stairs, her bulimia, then it was, like, “Well my life isn’t so bad—if she’s a princess with fame and money and servants and she’s still puking all over the place, then my life isn’t so bad in my trailer park with my own cheating husband.”

There’s definitely a connection in the fallen woman and the redemption of the fallen woman. Those great paintings of Mary Magdalene were created because of the ideas of redemption, forgiveness, starting over, through Christ and the Catholic Church. There’s still the same basic need for human drama, for the arc of redemption. It’s the same narrative we can see in baroque art or today’s celebrity-culture. It’s sort of gossip even—“Psst, that’s Mary Magdalene over there”—it’s almost like gossip.

·“Living Marble: Bernini and the Birth of the Baroque Portrait Bust” is at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello (2 April-12 July)

· “ Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence” is at the V&A; in London (4 April-19 July)

· “David LaChapelle” is at La Monnaie de Paris (until 31 May)

· “David LaChapelle: Delirium of Reason” is at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City (until 14 June)






Liberation. Their Story Begins…

Wolfe von Lenkiewicz’s work involves the appropriation of recognisable iconographic images which are then reconfigured and added to through the medium of drawing. The new reconfigurations occupy a space between the recognisable and the new; the historical and the contemporary. The drawings which are monumental, occupy an interesting space between the tome of art historical knowledge, the lexicon of visual language, and the sophisitcated intelligence of the viewer. The observer may trace the point of appropriation, the intervention into it, and the new image created as a result. A second and perhaps more germane point of recognition for the viewer is von Lenkiewicz’s use of the traditional medium of drawing which spans the entire history of Western Art beginning with the cave paintings at Lascaux. von Lenkiewicz’s mastery as draughtsman is perhaps the strongest link to the history he both appropriates and participates in, and thereby adds to.

von Lenkiewicz’s subject matter is varied, diverse and at times risqué. He boldly experiments with hybrid visual combinations that straddle the murky borders between the sacred and the profane; image and aspect. An interesting feature of his working process is the manner in which he moves freely between the public and private to the public once again. In his ouvre von Lenkiewicz unapologetically engages the works of Picasso, Balthus, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Lewis Carroll. A curious reference to the work of Walt Disney is linked historically to the artist personally through his great grandfather, court painter to King Ludvig II of Bavaria 1845-1886 whose custom built castle, Neuschwanstein, was built as a homage to the composer Richard Wagner and which became the inspiration for Disneyland. In tandem with the appropriation of recognised images is the further appropriation of artistic style which can only be understood in terms of a testament to the skill of the artist. Wandering through the space it is possible to identify influences of Op Art, Analytical Cubism and allegory. Finally, throughout the diversity of subject, style and rendering, is a consistent thread or rather consciousness that is acknowledged through the work itself - that the job of the artist is first and foremost to make an image. 

Wolfe von Lenkiewicz presently works in Berlin. He has exhibited extensively throughout Europe in venues such as; Maison Rouge, The Kuntshaus, Hamburg and the Palais de L’iles.

Exhibition runs until November 5th, Tuesday to Friday 10-6pm and Saturday 12-6pm




 ‘Babel’ is a response to Ireland’s property boom and the consequences of its collapse. The work aims to encourage a critical examination of the societal changes and transformations that impacted on the built environment as well as the cultural, economic and political landscape of the country. The ‘Tower of Babel’ is used an allegory to represent how Dublin’s property bubble spiralled out of control.

The sculptural installation takes the form of a 1:200 scale architectural model. The architectural model was chosen to represent ‘Babel’ as a means to re-appropriate a language of presentation used by developers and real estate agents as a marketing tool. The clearly imagined development of Dublin as a modern day tower of Babel is used to reflect the very real hubris of time.

Aidan Lynam was born in London in 1978 and has lived in Ireland since 1978. In 2008 he graduated with a BA Honours in Fine Art Sculpture from the College of Art Design & Printing at the Dublin Institute of Technology. His current work draws from his experience working in model making.  

Please Note: Babel is currently on display in the Irish Architectural Archive 45 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.





A Tale of Two CitiesJohn Deakin –Genoa and Johnnie Shand Kydd -Naples. November 11th – December 10th

In his lifetime John Deakin (1916-72) achieved notoriety for his portraits for Vogue of the leading figures of early post war cultural life – from Dylan Thomas to Humphrey Bogart, Maria Callas to John Huston. Vogue might have expected flattering likenesses but Deakin instead provided unretouched and pitiless documents. It was a short-lived relationship for the lure of the pubs and clubs of London’s West End, conveniently close to Vogue’s studios, ultimately claimed him. And in so doing, Deakin’s lasting fame became instead for his portraits of the artists of the 1950s, specifically those who congregated there and contributed to the myth and the reality of a ‘Soho bohemia’. Chief among these figures were Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, the luckless John Minton and the ill-starred ‘Two Roberts’, Colquhoun and MacBryde.

When Johnnie Shand Kydd’s dispassionate survey of the new artistic bohemia of the 1990s, the ‘Young British Artists’ mostly at play – Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Tracy Emin, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor Wood and Jay Jopling – burst onto the scene, the parallels were clear, at least in the broadest sense. Like Deakin, Shand Kydd was as much a participant in the fin-de-siecle revels as their recorder. (Much of which occurred in the Colony Room, a favourite haunt of Deakin’s some 40 years before). Shand Kydd was more sympathetic to his subjects, Deakin a merciless eye. There is much to enjoy in the younger photographer’s work, a palpable sense of belonging to something vital and when to be young and talented and clever was enough; there is little in Deakin’s portraits to raise much of a smile. Both photographers shared an affinity withItaly, whence Shand Kydd frequently returns. Deakin made a book of street photographs of Rome, where he lived for several years after leaving Vogue, and then travelled to Genoa to document for an unpublished book the Italsider steel works. On display are fragments from that unrealised project. Shand Kydd has chosen Naples as his arena and taken from it exuberant slices of life, joyful, sad, highly-charged and off-kilter.





LaChapelle's work continues to be inspired by everything from art history to street culture, creating both a record and mirror of all facets of popular culture today. He is quite simply the only photographic artist currently working in the world today whose work has transcended the fashion or celebrity magazine context it was made for, and has been enshrined by the notoriously discerning and fickle contemporary art intelligentsia.



 Helen Chadwick is recognised as one of the leading exponents of the controversial late 20th century British art scene and was mentor and lecturer to
Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.  A rare and highly regarded montage from her ‘Viral Landscape’ series (five large scale photographic montages,
4' high and 10' long, displayed as a panoramic frieze). In each montage the artist's photograph of a rocky and savage coastal landscape is partially overlaid and merged with enlarged images of cells from her own body. There is a strange irony in the choice of title in this work which brought her to such public prominence as she would subsequently die prematurely through a viral infection.



Ogden’s admiration and respect for the many idiosyncrasies of Irish life are caught in ‘Entrance Hall’ by Andrew Bush taken from the American photographer’s study of the Georgian house Bonnettstown, Alen MacWeeney’s 1965 study of the Traveller Community and John Hinde’s idealistic shots of 50’s to 70’s Ireland. For Perry Ogden, these distinguished photographers have influenced and inspired his own career as both photographer and filmmaker. 

Born in Shropshire in England, he now lives in Ireland. His photographs have appeared in countless magazines worldwide including Italian Vogue, Luomo Vogue, W, The Face and Arena, and he has shot advertising campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Chloe and Calvin Klein .  



James Nares is a gestural-abstractionist par excellence.  Nares (b. 1953) makes his bold highly stylised marks by physically suspending himself above the painting on a homemade sliding contraption which enables him to drag a loaded brush in its sweeping calligraphic path across the canvas.
A New York artist, Nares' biography lists numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and London as well as inclusion in some of the most exciting curated group exhibitions of the last thirty-five years including shows at MOMA and The Drawing Centre, New York.



Sebastian Guinness is pleased to announce its inaugural show; the first one-man exhibition in Ireland, of German artist Herbert Hamak.

Hamak was born in 1952, in Unterfranken, Bavaria, where he lives and works to this day.He spent the years 1972-1980 at the StaedelArtSchool in Frankfurt, one of Germany’s crucibles of artistic innovation.He is an artist dedicated to the tactile and painterly qualities of light.Working in resin, his abstract, minimal forms are simple studies in the saturation of colour and ask an infinite number of visual questions.Hamak has refined his palette and technique over the past quarter century allowing for a variety of form that, although at once sculptural, he prefers to regard as paintings.His works impress because they are strongly structured, rigorous, transparent, and ambiguous entities.

His work has been exhibited around the world and is represented in numerous prestigious permanent collections: MMK, Frankfurt; Kunsthalle, Mannheim; Technische Hocheschule, Frankfurt; the Daimler Chrysler Collection; and The PeggyGuggenheimMuseum, Venice.