A couple of years ago, Brisbane was blessed with the opportunity to play host to David Lynch. Over a matter of months, GOMA showcased the man’s works – paintings, films, sculptures, installations, television and music – and welcomed him as an interviewee. The ‘Between Two Worlds’ exhibit was carefully curated to place Lynch’s art in a continuum; rather than emphasising his better-known film and TV works, they were positioned as one branch from a flowering tree.
David Lynch: The Art Life achieves much the same feat. Narrated by Lynch himself, the documentary offers a sort of autobiography from Lynch’s youth through to the production of Eraserhead. There’s nothing especially revelatory here if you’re as obsessed with Lynch as I am, but it’s the deftness of the presentation that makes The Art Life necessary (if you’re obsessed with Lynch).
Footage of Lynch in the present day – smoking, painting, reflecting – are frequently intercut with his artwork; his “dark, fantastic dreams.”. There are paintings, flashes of his early short films, behind-the-scenes shots from Eraserhead. Consciously presented absent context, these works become necessary puzzle pieces in an extraordinary man’s life. The Art Life is meditative and jarring, familiar yet unconventional: it is, in short, truly Lynchian.