Tag: David Lynch

David Lynch – Someone Is In My House – Art Book Review

Art: David Lynch
Title: Someone Is In My House
Release date: 19 February 2019
Pages: 304
Publisher: Prestel Publishing

David Lynch, Bob Sees Himself Walking Toward A Formidable Abstraction, 2000, oil and mixed media on canvas, courtesy of the artist.

After years of relative silence since the release of Inland Empire, David Lynch has been in the spotlight for the better part of the last three years. Twin Peaks: The Return set things in motion. For the first time since the early 90s, Lynch was on the minds of the mainstream masses, not just his usual rabid cult fan base. For those of us always wishing more focus would be put on Lynch’s many artistic endeavors outside of film, this has been a dream come true. All things Twin Peaks are back in commercial production, Blue Velvet finally received its Criterion Collection debut, the long lost Thought Gang (Lynch and Badalamenti) album was released.

David Lynch, Boy Lights Fire, 2010, mixed media on cardboard, courtesy the artist. Collection Bonnefantenmuseum

In the realm of books, we’ve also been fortunate. Nudes, reviewed by us, was released in late 2017. A 240 page art book packed with nude photography of women taken by David Lynch. That was followed by the semi-autobiography Room To Dream, also reviewed here. Now, 2019 is starting off with another huge art book featuring the works of David Lynch.

David Lynch, Couch Series #9, 2008, digigraphie, courtesy the artist and Galerie Karl Pfefferle, Munich

Someone Is In My House is the companion book to the currently running exhibition of the same name in the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Netherlands. The exhibition will be running through 28 April 2019! Someone Is In My House showcases a multi-media selection of works, spanning the last fifty years. There is everything from pencil and pen sketches on torn out sheets of paper and collections of matchbook sketches to photography from ventures which would lead to the books and exhibitions of The Factory Photographs and Nudes.

David Lynch, untitled (Lodz), 2000, archival pigment print, courtesy the artist.

Someone Is In My House will be indispensable to the avid Lynch collector, but this book truly shines as an introduction to Lynch’s various art forms. Whereas books like the aforementioned The Factory Photographs and Nudes are straightforward art books, filled front to back with full-page photography, Someone Is In My House has a good bit more text, along with the large and beautiful images! We are given much more context for many of the included pieces. The various writers give us a bit of Lynch’s history to go with the images, as well as a number of examples from famous artists in history as comparison/contrast. Those familiar with Lynch’s history will find a handful of interesting details to be gathered, but these chapters/articles will prove highly useful to the reader that is only familiar with Lynch through film/television.

But there is plenty to attract the die-hards. The vast section “Works on Paper” is worth the price itself. Page after page of sketches, doodles, and an impressive number of lithographs give us one of the deepest views into Lynch’s subconscious yet. The matchbook collection, which I’ve heard about many times before, is presented here as well. Particularly as I gazed at these matchbooks for extended periods of time, I realized I’d be happier at my desk with this book and a cup of coffee than I would be seeing the matchbooks in person. Each stroke of Lynch’s ball-point pen seems to lead off into another universe yet to be uncovered.

David Lynch, Pete Goes To His Girlfriend’s House, 2009, mixed media on cardboard, courtesy the artist.

Paintings/Mixed Media is the other largest section of the book. This section would also be worth the money on its own. We are finally able to sit and gaze upon so many of these strange works that have been mentioned, or shown in passing in a documentary. Incredible pieces like “Bob’s Second Dream” are shown in full, but also have a close-up where you can study the writing and textures. Extracting meaning from the letters/words oddly strewn throughout many of these images can be an exercise in itself. Some of these works, which I’ve not enjoyed as much as others in the past, have given me the opportunity to gaze upon them in context, among other connected works, and a new appreciation for them has been sparked.

David Lynch, untitled (Lodz), 2000, archival pigment print, courtesy the artist .

The photography section is quite small, which isn’t surprising as Lynch’s photography has been presented to the public in books more than his paintings. But it still manages to feature some wonderful highlights, like the notorious “Chicken Kit” and “Fish Kit”. The “Chicken Kit” in particular shares disturbingly equal portions of humor and horror. There are also selections from the Factory and Nude photo collections, to give readers a taste of what they can expect in those books (the selections in this book appear to be exclusive, not re-used from those other books).

David Lynch, Girl Dancing, 2008, lithographie, courtesy the artist and Item Editions

The book is rounded out with a biography, further reading, selected exhibitions and selected filmography sections to help lead new Lynch fans off to discover more about this auteur.

David Lynch, Distorted Nude #4, 1999, archival pigment print, courtesy the artist

At roughly 10″x12″ and over 300 pages, Prestel has crafted a physical manifestation of Someone Is In My House worthy of its artistic content. The sturdy hardcover edition has thick pages and the images don’t present too terribly much glare when reading under lamp light. I would highly recommend this to the avid Lynch fan who already has a few of the other art books, or to the newcomer to Lynch’s art-life outside his film-directing career.

Written by: Michael Barnett

David Lynch – Nudes – ArtBook Review

Photography: David Lynch
Title: Nudes
Release date: November 2017
Pages: 240
Publisher: FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France.

Photos courtesy of FondationCartier. ©David Lynch

I first happened upon David Lynch in 1999. Lost Highway was playing on the Independent Film Channel. After those two hours, I would never look at cinematography the same way again. The darkness was all-encompassing. The actual events of the story were less important than the feelings the viewer experienced. A focus on mood and atmosphere build the basic foundation for David Lynch‘s oeuvre. Whether you came to his works through Blue Velvet, Eraserhead or Mulholland Dr., you likely found a similar love for his particular brand of darkness. Ten years after his last film, David Lynch has re-entered the spotlight in a big way with the return of Twin Peaks for a third season. That new season turned out to be about as complex as his most challenging films, and proves that he still has the drive to crush all expectations of what any particular form of art should seek to accomplish.

©David Lynch

During the excitement, which is still resounding from that new season of Twin Peaks, Lynch has recognized how many followers his works still attract. I’ve already reviewed his new [semi-auto]biography, Room To Dream. (Read the review here.) In Room To Dream, we were given a much better picture of how important art, in its many forms, is to David Lynch. Whether it is a doodle on a napkin, a painting, a lithograph or a photograph, Lynch has as much love for still art as he does for film. The style and format in which these works are created is incredibly varied.

“I like to photograph naked women. The infinite variety of the human body is fascinating: it is amazing and magic to see how different women are.”
                                                – David Lynch

Nudes has a specific focus. Nudes gives us a large collection of David Lynch‘s photography of the nude female body. With that said, many are likely to find little sexual nature in Nudes. Of course, the nude female body will likely draw some level of sexual attraction from people, but it certainly isn’t the focus. The feminine form and the integrity of the models are well honored here. This is not pornography, soft-core or otherwise. This is dark art. The darkness here really can’t be overstated. It is one of the main features of the collection. It is as prevalent as the female body itself, if not even more so.

©David Lynch

Those familiar with David Lynch: The Factory Photographs will find similarities to Nudes in style. Lynch created both these collections using a similar aesthetic template to that of some of his films, specifically Eraserhead and Inland Empire. We get that industrial district at night feeling. In the black and white sections of Nudes, in particular, we may find ourselves dehumanizing these images, with the skin losing its natural tones and taking on something less lively, less human.

©David Lynch

The color section of Nudes uses the female body in much the same ways, but the mood changes drastically. Throughout the color section the photos have a warm hue, with the yellows of the skin and reds of the lips standing in bold contrast to one another. The lips are one of the most moving features throughout this section. Thinking of scenes from Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr. and Blue Velvet, one would already realize how important lips are to Lynch’s aesthetics. Those close-up scenes of all these dames-in-distress, as they speak quietly into a phone, immediately comes to mind when browsing this section.

©David Lynch

Another important element in this collection, aside from the women and the darkness, is smoke. It’s used in a variety of ways, both in the color and B/W photos. Sometimes it is a languid exhale from the rosy lips of a model, other times it lingers in the air between the model and the camera in a purely atmospheric fashion. In both instances, it greatly adds to the seductive aesthetic as well as the mystery.

©David Lynch

Often, the true nature of the photograph is obscured. It can be almost impossible at times to discern which part(s) of the body is even on display. Delicate and pale skin illuminates the pages, as the body is only slightly revealed. The difficulty in discerning the parts of the body we are seeing adds the same sort of thing to this book that I love about Lynch’s films. Everything is not as it seems. Each photograph is not only a new pose, maybe a new model or a new location, but it is also a new mystery. We can spend a decent amount of our time contemplating and analyzing each photo.

©David Lynch

Every extra moment I can spend with the book makes me feel all the more pleased to have purchased it. This won’t be something that you will flip through quickly and toss aside. Each page deserves time and thought, worthy of the extra care one takes when confronted by an artist of top calibre. Lynch has created a collection which seems so simple in its preparation, but manages to draw the same level of admiration as some of his most complex works. Unlike many of his paintings, drawings and animations, we can see very close connections to his film aesthetics in this photography.

The physical book itself is brilliantly presented. FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain has been working with Lynch since they hosted his David Lynch, The Air Is On Fire exhibition. Since then, they’ve published his art-books The Air Is On Fire (2007), Snowmen (2007) and Works on Paper (2011). Nudes is hardback, 25 × 34 cm, and 240 pages featuring 125 black-and-white and color photographs. I honestly have never owned an art-book that nears the physical quality of this one, so I can’t speak too much on comparing it with other similar editions.

©David Lynch

I would highly recommend Nudes to lovers of photography of the human form. But, I would also feel confident that many lovers of his films, particularly the noir-esque films, will find plenty to enjoy in this collection. I spent most of an evening browsing it the day it arrived, slowly absorbing each photograph. I’ve since gone back and enjoyed the book several more times. In each instance, I’ve been incredibly pleased with the experience. It’s really exciting to see Lynch rising once again to the surface of the art world. I’m hoping this book will be a commercial success, because we really need more like this, and it would seem that Lynch has mountains of unpublished art that he can still share with the world. To many people, Lynch is one of the greatest artists of our time, I will be firmly in that camp until someone can finally convince me otherwise.

Written by: Michael Barnett

David Lynch & Kristine McKenna – Room To Dream – Book Review

Authors: David Lynch and Kristine Mckenna
Title: Room To Dream
Publisher: Random House
Release date: 19 June 2018
Pages: 592

In our dark ambient community there should be few people unfamiliar with the name David Lynch. The soundtrack to Eraserhead is still wildly popular 41 years later, with a recent re-issue selling out in no time. The Eraserhead soundtrack is a testament to Lynch’s natural understanding of dark ambient atmospherics. These rich textures and layers of drone, wind, and industrial noise evoke a dark vision of the not so distant past and, on an emotional level, a sense of claustrophobia and social anxiety. Going forward to 2007, Lynch worked with his in-house sound engineer Dean Hurley to create The Air Is On Fire, a thoroughly dark ambient music experience which was created as a soundtrack to accompany his art exhibition of the same name. While these are certainly not the only two times Lynch has dabbled in what amounts to dark ambient, they are solid proof of his dark ambient sensibilities.

Since the release of Eraserhead in 1977, Lynch has been slowly climbing the ladder to cult superstar status. His relationship with the movie industry, film critics and fans is one that is constantly changing in dynamics. Love him or hate him, most people that have experienced enough of his work to properly judge have some strong opinion. This has never been an issue for Lynch. He has almost always worked in a way that puts the integrity of the final product as the only important concern. On the very few instances that he’s strayed from this goal, he’s learned his lesson the hard way, becoming even more committed to his internal vision with each passing project.

The current, and possible life-time, culmination of all his experiences comes in the form of Twin Peaks: The Return. The revival of this series, twenty five years later, put Lynch into the spotlight in a way he hasn’t experienced since the success of Blue Velvet and then the original Twin Peaks series. Mulholland Dr. got people talking, but it was more of a slow-burner, taking years for many people to come around to its aesthetics and sensibilities. Twin Peaks: The Return had no trouble with its launch. Lynch has graced covers of popular magazines over the last two years and his body of work is being discovered by many new and younger people. Simultaneously, his older followers are taking the time to re-evaluate their feelings about his other works.

In this climate and at this point in his career, now seems to be the perfect timing for Room To Dream to hit the shelves. Though we likely all hope to have many more productive years for Lynch, we must realize the world is a violent and dynamic place. There is no time like the present, and Lynch has luckily deemed it necessary to sit down and give us the best details to-date of his life and experiences in it. Those ten years between Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: The Return have given Lynch the rest he needed, but also gave him time to properly evaluate what he wants to be remembered for in this world after he’s dropped his body. That really shows in Room To Dream, it’s easy to see that Lynch may not be on the exact path he envisioned, nevertheless he is confident in his past and eager to see what the future holds.

People searching for an answer to the final episode of Twin Peaks: The Return will find no solace in the pages of Room To Dream. Lynch has repeatedly stated, in regards to numerous projects, that telling us his version of “the truth behind the story” would be doing a disservice to the viewer. And indeed I’ve returned to Inland Empire, Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway so many times that I’ve long since lost count. Even last night, re-watching Inland Empire for the 20th+ time, there were new ideas and possibilities jumping out at me.

However, those interested in what made Lynch the man that he is today, and why he decided to take this direction with his art, will find a treasure trove of information. In Room To Dream each chapter has two sections, a biographical format by Kristine McKenna sets the foundation for the narrative, giving us many quotes from the people relevant to Lynch during each given period (Everyone from Dennis Hopper to Michael Cera). McKenna is able to speak with authority on these topics, as she has been one of Lynch’s most trusted interviewers throughout the years, and has previously written a number of articles on the subject of his life and work. The second part to each chapter is then written by David Lynch. Lynch reads the previous section, then gives further details, caveats, and corrections to the “popular narrative” of his life and the meaning/direction of his various works. Since we are able to hear Lynch’s take on the topic it gives us the best of both worlds, a standard biography which is paired with a sort of memoir/autobiography.

There were disappointments and failures along the way, like the crumbling of the mesh that held Dune together, and the subsequent critical backlash. But Lynch bounced back from Dune with the masterpiece Blue Velvet, and he bounced back from the death of the Mulholland Dr. television show with a feature film version that many consider his magnum opus. Room to Dream takes us through these ups and downs and gives us an idea of Lynch’s thought process when navigating these projects and life-changing events.

Throughout the narrative there are few truly negative statements made about Lynch. This doesn’t seem to be an omission so much as a reality. By all accounts, Lynch is a ray of sunshine and a pleasure to be around. But like in so much of his body of work, things aren’t always as they seem. While it seems absolutely true that Lynch is a delight to be around, he also suffers from a great deal of social anxiety. We need look no further than his debut film Eraserhead, seeing the tribulations of Henry Spencer as he attempted to navigate social norms. These differing extremes, being the nicest guy in the room and also being the most self-conscious, may be partly responsible for one of his Lynchian trademarks, showing opposing moods and atmospheres pushed to their very limit and then fused together in a chaotic orgy of raw emotion and symbolism.

Emotions abound in Room To Dream for the reader. The way we are able to experience the feelings and stories by these many many people whose lives have been changed for the better by Lynch is quite heart-warming. But, we also get the negative vibes. I can’t help but feel a real disappointment, knowing Ronnie Rocket will likely never see the light of day. Knowing how much footage was destroyed in the editing of a certain film, and how many of those deleted scenes could have made it back into a director’s cut. But again, these ups and downs are part of the journey with David Lynch. Who doesn’t remember the elation of hearing the announcement of a third season of Twin Peaks? Only to be followed by an announcement that Lynch had pulled out of the project. Then the subsequent campaign by the actors to get the film/show back in motion. It was a turbulent process, and yet somehow it was almost magical.

Room To Dream isn’t the key to all the secrets behind Lynch’s filmography. The closest you will get to that is the haphazard attempt by so many film students seeking to fit his work into some category, genre, or psychological framework. What you will get from this book is a renewed appreciation for Lynch’s body of work, not just in film, but also in music, painting, drawing, print-making, sculpture, photography, etc. Room to Dream is about showing how Lynch has, in fact, given himself room to dream. Just as his films so often give the viewers “room to breath” in those long and mundane sequences, we see how Lynch’s life has been plotted out in a similar fashion. After a lifetime’s work, Lynch finally has room to dream and we will all certainly be awaiting the day that his works will grace the screen once more. In the meantime, though, Room To Dream uncovers a plethora of various works that we may have missed by Lynch over the years. I suggest you keep a notepad close by when reading this one, there will be so many things to check out later to further enrich our appreciation for Lynch not just as an auteur of the film industry, but as a first-class artist across countless forms of media.

Review written by: Michael Barnett

Room To Dream is available in hardcover, e-book and audio-book formats, with readings by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna.
https://soundcloud.com/penguin-audio/room-to-dream-by-david-lynch

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