Urs Fischer Made a Giant Leonardo DiCaprio Candle, Then Lit It on Fire

Memento mori, but make it Instagrammable.

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Mario Sorrenti

For years now, Leonardo DiCaprio has been doing his best to raise awareness about the catastrophic effects of global warming—particularly, as seen in his 2016 documentary Before the Flood, the rapid speed at which glaciers have begun to melt. Incidentally, now DiCaprio himself has begun to melt, too—or at least, a larger-than-life wax replica of the actor has, thanks to Urs Fischer. The Swiss-born, New York-based artist not only named his new exhibition at Gagosian’s Paris gallery “Leo,” but also kicked off its opening by lighting its titular figure on fire.

DiCaprio isn’t the first celeb whom Fischer has transformed into a massive candle, with the full intent to burn him to the ground. In the years since he pulled stunts like making digging an eight-foot hole into a gallery floor and inviting the world to cover Katy Perry’s face with clay, it’s become one of the artist’s signature moves. To true Fischer fans, such a treatment would even be considered a privilege: The artist’s most recent victim, art collector Dasha Zhukova, was actually the one to first float the idea of her immolation. (Fischer initially demurred; up until that point, he “only did men.”)

Perhaps Zhukova got Fischer to thinking outside of the box, because his latest also features a woman: Leo (George & Irmelin) stars not only Leo, but also the actor’s parents, George DiCaprio and Irmelin Indenbirken. In case you didn’t notice his mom on the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood red carpets, here’s what she—and the elder, slightly more hirsute Mr. DiCaprio—look like IRL:

Irmelin Indenbirken and Leonardo DiCaprio attend the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, January 2012.

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George DiCaprio and his son Leonardo DiCaprio attend the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, at city hall in Paris, December 2015.

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It’s too early to be sure at this point, but it looks as though Leo’s parents may have been spared. So far, only Leo seems to have melted—all the more visibly because Fischer robbed him of his usual newsboy cap—meaning black wax is currently dribbling down his ivory white t-shirt and chest. Over time, Leo and co. will increasingly morph into “a form dictated by the wayward laws of physics,” as Gagosian puts it. Essentially, it’s a classic memento mori—just tailor-made for the Instagram era. (Oddly enough, there are even two Leos, doubling your chance of getting a good angle.)

If you aren’t able to make it over to Paris in the next day or so, don’t fret: The gallery has promised that at least some semblance of Leo will stick around through the end of the exhibition, which closes on December 20. (If that is indeed true, Zhukova can’t hold a candle to DiCaprio’s record: After Fischer lit her on fire, she only lasted for a matter of weeks.)

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