David Lynch Untitled (Łódź), 2000 Archival gelatin-silver print 11 x 14 inches © Collection of the artist
The mastermind responsible for bringing our attention to the dark delights of Mulholland Drive is showing his undeniable versatility in the European debut of his photography exhibition, ‘The Factory Photographs’, which is being presented at the Photographer’s Gallery until the 30th March.
The buzzword Mulholland Drive should have made it obvious that I am, of course, referring to the Oscar-winning director David Lynch who has captured and challenged our minds throughout his film career. He now aims to portray an insight into the bleak, monochrome world of haunting factories that he has photographed in locations including Germany, Poland, New York and England.
In the images there is an element of animation as Lynch focuses on the detail in the cracked walls and peeling paint of these once great industrial monuments. However, pair this with the clinical detachment of an imposing, inanimate object devoid of people and you can achieve something close to Lynch’s signature enticing surrealism and complexity.
The unique cinematic style of this American director is mirrored in the intensely brooding and ominous shots of functionless and forgotten factories in the onslaught of modern technology. Lynch has always been enthralled by the theme of industrialisation as we see in Eraserhead (1977), Elephant Man (1980) and Dune (1984) where the sounds of machinery dominate the background; and, no differently, sound works created by the artist feature in this exhibition.
The chosen medium of black and white photography is particularly interesting as these images were captured from the 1980s to 2000, yet this purposeful renunciation of colour is perfect to capture the sooty detail of these industrial landscapes. By setting the factories against the backdrop of winter, Lynch also emphasises their desolation and melancholy.
‘The Factory Photographs’, an exhibition curated by Dr. Petra Giloy-Hirtz, comprises over eighty images, which are hung thematically in order to take you on a visual tour of the factories; starting with the architectural aspect of the buildings, then the interior and then back to the exterior and the landscape, creating a cyclical journey. Lynch succeeds in capturing these relics from a bygone era in such a dreamlike manner that he creates beauty and personality in their walls and windows.