Remember the Red Room, the Lady in the Radiator or that severed ear from “Blue Velvet”? Well, if not, visiting David Lynch’s exhibition “Small Stories” will take you there. This 40-photo display conjures up the nightmarish underworld of amorphous creatures and murky corners familiar from Lynch’s early cinema and perhaps from your own nightmares. Part of the Budapest Photo Festival, “Small Stories” awaits all Lynchophiles from 1 March to 2 June at the Kunsthalle.
Ever since Eraserhead, cult American director David Lynch has had his fair share of artistic enterprises, but anything he touches turns to gold. In 2014 he created a display consisting of 40 black-and-white images, Small Stories, for Paris Photo Week at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. It has only been on display three times since. From 1 March, it’s on view at the Kunsthalle in Budapest, until 2 June.
To enter the exhibition, and Lynch’s surreal world, you have to walk through the red room from Twin Peaks, which is an experience that will send Lynch fans down memory lane. Then two spacious rooms await with surreally designed black chairs, a record player rendering Beat the Beat – a song by Lynch and Chrysta Bell – videos, and of course, lo-fi photos hanging on the walls, depicting surreal, moody, otherworldly and upsettingly familiar environments.
Similarly to Lynch’s films, these images are dominated by dreams – predominantly nightmares – seeking a connection between the subconscious and reality. They all tell a small story, and you can while away an entire visit trying to find continuities with Lynch’s early oeuvre. It is completely up to you, there are no captions or forced explanations, you can let your fantasy fly to Lynchian heights. The why, how, where and when are not touched upon, the pictures allow the stories to be created in the viewer’s imagination.
David Lynch said about the exhibition: “Still images can contain stories. Mostly, still images contain small stories. And, as it happens, sometimes there are interesting stories that are small. Small stories take place during a very short period of time. However, the mind and emotions can become engaged by looking at a still image, and small stories can grow into huge stories. It depends, of course, on the viewer. It’s almost impossible not to find some kind of story emerging from a still image. This, I think, is a beautiful phenomenon”.
A visit to Small Stories is a psychedelic journey through the world of emotions, humour, playfulness and restlessness, unveiling memories and scars from the past. Although they all tell a small story, creating dimensions of time and space, together the pictures make up a universe already familiar from the films of Lynch. So if you are a fan, you’ll like this.