The Air is on Fire

The Air is on Fire

A review for a book that I haven’t read.

David Lynch created an exhibition for the Foundation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris from March to May 2007. As well as being a film director, for which his fame is well known, David also sketches, paints and photographs. This all seems to have started from an early age and must have been something that his parents obviously encouraged.

The book includes two CDs of audio conversation that art critic Kristine McKenna had with David Lynch discussing the art work. Of course they are constantly mentioning in the page numbers, so that you can follow along with the book open, and also because very few of the pieces have a title. What I wondered was if the book hadn’t been published how would they know which art was on which page. Anyway, it’s this hour and three quarters of chatter that bring the art to life. In the book the work isn’t described in any way other than it’s size and the occasional title. Nothing to note the time period that it was created in.

Lynch has used many different types of media. Post-it notes (you’ll recognise the shade of yellow on the book’s cover) of different sizes, used match books, serviettes from coffee shops, index cards, plain paper, lined paper, notepad paper, then later canvas when money permitted. It’s amazing that all this was kept and catalogued. Some sketches on note paper still had names and phone numbers.

As you can imagine the work is quite dark, very much in the same vein as Francis Bacon (who gets a mention in the audio). Also included are stills from all of David Lynch’s films, yes, even Dune. These just seem to be taken by the set photographer and look like standard publicity stills. Photos by Lynch himself are shown towards the end: old German/Polish factories, nude women and snowmen.

If you’re a fan of David Lynch, and art in general, then this is a fine book to add to your collection. I’ve been hoping that the exhibition will eventually come to London. After Paris it didn’t seem to tour anywhere else until this year when it opened in Moscow. There’s certainly hope yet!