David Lynch’s cult TV drama series Twin Peaks set a tone that, in the 21 years that have passed since it first aired, has not been surpassed in stylish eeriness nor dark, surreal storyline. Last year, Clifton’s Brookdale in downtown Los Angeles held an exhibition entitled “In The Trees” to mark this anniversary; a year on, the Copro gallery in Santa Monica has brought in curator Rob Wilson to put together a sequel exhibition focusing on the (even) darker side of Twin Peaks to coincide with the 20th anniversary of prequel feature film Fire Walk with Me. The group exhibition features artwork that taps into the Lynchain aesthetic and includes work by Lynch himself.
The Twin Peaks-inspired exhibition idea was first conceived in 2009 when Rob Wilson was working with Lynch in India on a documentary with Richard Beymer (Benjamin Horne in Twin Peaks) happened to be one of the cameramen. “As a fairly obsessive Twin Peaks geek,” says Wilson, “this should have been a disaster. But David and Richard humoured me, and if they were as annoyed as they should have been with all of my questions, they hid it well. I asked them if anything was being planned for the 20th anniversary of the series and they didn’t laugh when I suggested an art show.”
95 per cent of the work has been commissioned Specifically for this show. Some pieces, such as the Twin Peaks prints by David Lynch and Tim Biskup’s painting “Walk With Bob”, appeared in the first anniversary show. Lynch began his career as a painter. According to Wilson, Lynch “appreciated both the first show and this show as tributes from fellow artists. He gave everyone the full freedom to do whatever they wanted, and David was very sensitive that this should be a democratic group exhibition. He wanted both exhibitions to be seen as 'Twin Peaks' shows rather than 'David Lynch' shows. It must have been interesting for him to see different interpretations of characters and elements that he created with Mark Frost. I do know that he liked the art he’s seen so far and was really honoured by the depth and quality of the work.”
"You go by most paintings, and they don't stop you," Lynch has said of his own work. "You can walk by so much because it's merely beautiful. I like to feel that you could bite my paintings. Not to eat them, to hurt them. I like to feel like I'm painting with my teeth. I call my painting `bad' because bad painting has its own beauty. It's not a designer tapestry or a commercial hype. It makes you react to it."
“The most common thing I’ve heard about Fire Walk With Me is that it’s dark,” says Wilson, “which is true at a very surface level. However, seeing the art as it came in for this show, it became apparent that the artists were truly absorbing the film. The humour, mystery, symbolism, sadness, and most importantly the redemption in Laura Palmer’s story struck a chord and influenced more of the art than I expected.”
For more about about the work of esteemed director, the Masters of Cinema book on David Lynch, an essential introduction to the work of one of the world’s greatest directors. Film fans should make sure to check out the Cahiers du Cinema collection, comprising books on the most important and influential names in filmmaking.
Fire Walk With Me
April 21 – May 12, 2012