David Lynch – The Factory Photographs

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The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies St
London W1F 7LW


Untitled (Łódź), 2000

This week sees a triple exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery showcasing works from Pop Art pioneer Andy Warhol, Beat Generation author William Burroughs and a new series of photographic work from visual artist and surrealist filmmaker David Lynch.

The director’s vast and varied oeuvre extends past a variety of films and soon to return cult series Twin Peaks, to visual art, music and even a briefly functioning Paris nightclub Silencio, inspired by a fictional club of the same name in 2001 LA neo-noir Mulholland Drive. Often considered surrealist but with notable influences from German Expressionist film as well as contemporary cinema, the director’s  individual film style, dubbed “Lynchian”, comprises of lengthy and immersive dream imagery and intense, meticulous sound design.

This latest series sees the director recall the urban landscape of his 1977 surrealist ‘body horror’ Eraserhead, which sees its disturbed protagonist occupy a vast, industrial dystopia dreamt up by Lynch in the film’s conception in the early 1970s, now seeeing the director explore in the real world a decade later, its stark visual language translated here through his use of black and white ‘celluloid’.

 

A scene from 1977’s Eraserhead

“I don’t like colour,” he says in a recent FT interview. “The real factories that I love, they’re black-and-white experiences. Colour putrefies them…I really love the oil-impregnated earth, you know, where the earth is gleaming with black oil and there is steel and brick and glass and these machines, and smokestacks and the smoke and the fire. It’s an amazing, phenomenal thing.”

The series of brooding images of factory landscapes has been taken over several decades during time out from filming across Poland, Germany, England and the Brooklyn landscape said to have inspired him as a child, documenting both the exterior and interior of these vast industrial spaces, some still operating but primarily those fallen into disrepair, shown by Lynch as slowly consumed by surrounding nature.  As if unable to present the works in the traditional, linear manner typical of the gallery, the exhibition is also accompanied by a sound installation comprising of original audio produced by the multi-disciplinary artist, who took his keen attention to audio usually reserved for often collaborative film scores, lending some of this immersive design to the otherwise quiet documentation.

Untitled (Łódź), 2000

Untitled (England), late 1980’s/early 1990s

Untitled (Łódź), 2000

The exhibition runs until 30th March at The Photographer’s Gallery, London.

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