'Lynchmob' exhibition curator Emilie Trice talks to Dazed Digital about the dark absurdity of David Lynch.
David Lynch's work is so indefinable and often apparently demented that it has bred its own distinct brand of surrealism. For 'Lynchmob,' co-curators Emilie Trice and Kollektiv-Berlin as well as curator Christopher David have wrangled more than thirty international artists into an exhibition at .HBC dedicated to the David Lynch's dark and illuminating style of perverse absurdity.
Following the thinking of the man who said "If you saw a man repeatedly running into a wall until he was a bloody pulp, after a while it would make you laugh because it becomes absurd," are works such as hunters' trophies made from glistening hard candy by Berlin-based sculptor Hannes Bend; a magnificent, meticulous-ly executed oil painting of a rooster that David Nicholson slaughtered himself and hung in his living room in Texas; Warren Neidich's selection of video images 'wished' on screen by far-away telepathic curators; and Maxime Ballesteros Biguet's high-contrast photographs of scrappy, scruffy and sexy kids cavorting in the romantically chaotic style of "Wild at Heart."
While assembling these works, rearranging the main/social space of the 1,800- square-meter former Hungarian cultural center turned gallery/event venue into a recreation of the lounge from Twin Peaks, and also posing for portraits with Christopher David photographed by Lynchmob artist Maxime Ballesteros Biguet, Trice took the time to chat with us.
Dazed Digital: Why do a show inspired by Lynch?
Emilie Trice: David Lynch is one of those creative visionaries that Berliners can really appreciate. Not everyone is so intrinsically drawn to perversion and angst, but I would venture that Berliners by and large feel a high level of affinity, or at the very least tolerance, for both of those psychological states.
DD: Is this a generally German set of characteristics? Or do you think Berlin's particular history heightened this tolerance or affinity for gallows humor?
ET: There's definitely something about the city itself and its unique history of perpetual transformation that just reeks of absurdity. Walking around alone here in the winter at night doesn't feel mundane. It feels sinister, but in a way that you can't really take seriously because it's so bizarre. David Lynch's works all resonate with similar qualities, and so he's just someone whose legacy is always kind of around in Berlin. It seemed like a natural theme for a show in Berlin and also one that would garner a lot of enthusiasm among the artists involved, which it has.
DD: Are these works just surreal or is there something more specific to being Lynchian?
ET: David Foster Wallace had this great quote, "AN ACADEMIC DEFINITION of Lynchian might be that the term "refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former's perpetual containment within the latter." But like post-modern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Potter
Stewart-type words that's ultimately definable only existentially -i.e., we know it when we see it."
DD: Were all of the artists directly inspired or personally fascinatedwith Lynch or were you extrapolating Lynch friendly attributes from their work?
ET: A lot of the artists in this show made new work specifically for this exhibition, based on the theme. It's really interesting to see the universal relevance that someone like David Lynch has and how his work can inspire such diverse artistic expressions in so many people. I'm really happy that two LA-based artists, Zak Smith and Sean Cheetham,
neither of whom have been shown in Berlin before, both made new paintings for this show. Otherwise, we chose older work that we felt would strengthen the exhibition as a complete statement, like Oliver Pietsch's videos, Torsten Solin's photographs and Christoph Steffner's "Fuck Machine." But the literal references to Lynch in these works varies considerably. We were mostly concerned with creating a complete Lynchian environment than with having every work be a singular statement, although hopefully that will happen too.
DD: What about the .HBC space is Lynchian?
ET: When Christopher David and I both went to HBC for the first time we immediately agreed in unison that there was something very David Lynch about it. It's a really strange space. The rooms and materials are all oddly put together and often in some stage of disrepair. The facade completely blends in with the row of discount stores and fast food
chains that occupies the street, but then behind this very unassuming surface there's this shockingly sprawling interior that's actually enormous and can be really difficult to navigate at first. Then there's the view from the bar/cafe that looks directly onto Alexanderplatz and is dwarfed by the TV tower, which is surreal in its own way. It just has a dreamlike quality to it that immediately correlated to David Lynch for both Christopher and me, but that's something that can't really be verbalized; it just has to be witnessed.