HomeDavid Lynch and the arts

HomeDavid Lynch and the arts

David Lynch and the arts

David Lynch et les arts

*  *  *

Published on Friday, December 16, 2016


Depuis son premier long-métrage, Eraserhead (1977), David Lynch s’est imposé dans le paysage cinématographique comme l’un des réalisateurs contemporains les plus novateurs et les plus intrigants. Mais, à la reconnaissance de cette activité dans le domaine cinématographique, s’est peu à peu ajoutée la découverte de l’exploration entreprise par Lynch d’autres domaines artistiques, commencée avant même la réalisation filmique dans le cadre de ses études d’Arts plastiques, et menée en parallèle et souvent en interconnexion avec son travail de réalisateur de films de fiction.



Ever since his first feature film Eraserhead (1977), David Lynch has stood out in contemporary cinema as one of the most innovative and challenging filmmakers. However, after receiving wide recognition in this field, he gradually explored other media, some of which he had worked in as part of his art studies and developed in parallel and often in interaction with his work as director of feature films: painting, drawing, music, sound design, photography, television series, webdocumentaries, etc. With Lynch no longer directing feature films since Inland Empire in 2006, his various activities have drawn increasing attention in recent years. In France, the exhibition « The air is on fire », held at the Cartier Foundation in March 2007, highlighted his work as a plastician and sound designer.

At a time when it is easier to have access to Lynch’s diverse artworks, it seems particularly relevant to invite reflection on the relationship between his work and other arts and media. This opens up a wide array of venues of investigation, that participants may consider from six major angles:

  • The cataloguing and analysis of Lynch’s various artistic practices. Confronted with the ongoing creative process that characterises the Lynchian artistic production, it seems necessary to take stock of his multifarious work in order to study the evolution of this multiform and multimedial work, including the author’s most contemporary creations.
  • The place of the arts in Lynch’s cinematic works. Being an arts student before he became a filmmaker, Lynch has often taken inspiration from painters (Francis Bacon, Edward Hopper) or from aesthetic movements (cubism and surrealism, for instance). His taste for rock music, from Elvis Presley to Heavy Metal, is also an important source of inspiration (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway), as well as his interest in design. Lastly, cinema itself offers important intertextual resources, like when his films take part in the history of genres like film noir, road movies or science fiction, or play with the fame of certain actresses or stars (Isabella Rossellini, David Bowie).
  • Lynch’s artistic collaborations. In the field of music, but also for instance with his lithographs and his work in sound design, Lynch collaborates with other artists like Angelo Badalamenti and Trent Reznor on a regular basis. What part do these artists take in Lynch’s creative process? If they feed into Lynch’s cinematic work, what is the director’s role when he makes videos for bands like Nine Inch Nails? Furthermore, Lynch has also worked for commercial companies, directing advertisements and devising a shop window for the Galeries Lafayette in 2009. How can we assess such productions within his global work?
  • Lynch’s idiosyncratic intermediality. If fans and scholars alike talk about a Lynchian universe, recognizable figures recur regardless of the medium. Analysing the play of references, echos and resonances among these figures from one media to the next (the hole, the erased head, the organic wriggling, electricity, the shock of the senses, the labyrinth, etc.) is thus of particular interest.
  • The contrasted reception of Lynch’s various artistic practices in their own respective fields. If Lynch’s cinematic work has achieved a relatively unchallenged critical legitimacy, what about the reception of his work in other media (music, the arts, television series, music videos, photography)? Moreover, what is the place given to David Lynch in the arts—has his work as a painter gained recognition in itself, or because of his fame as a filmmaker?
  • The influence of the Lynchian universe on contemporary artists. Many contemporary artists find inspiration in Lynch’s universe (some were recently shown at the Spoke Art gallery at San Franciso, for instance), but we can also think of Computer Music composers or of the recurrent use of layers of industrial sound in horror or fantastic films, partly inherited from what Lynch himself experimented in Eraserhead.

Submission guidelines

Abstracts, 250-350-words long in French or English, should be sent

by 13th February, 2017

to: david.lynch.arts@gmail.com

Communications will last 20 mn.

Scientific commitee 

  • Jean-François Baillon,
  • Pierre Beylot,
  • Emmanuel Plasseraud,
  • Clément Puget.

Selective Bibliography

David Lynch, The Air is on fire, Fondation Cartier / éditions Xavier Barral, 455 p.

Astic Guy, Le Purgatoire des sens, Paris, Dreamland éditeur, 2000, 141 p.

Astic Guy, Twin Peaks, les laboratoires de David Lynch, Pertuis, Rouge Profond, 2005, 143 p.

Aubron Hervé, Mulholland drive de David Lynch, Paris, yellow now, 2006, 127 p.

Chion Michel, David Lynch, Paris, Cahiers du Cinéma, 2001, 288 p.

Dufour Eric, David Lynch : matière, temps et image, Paris, Vrin, 2008, 122 p.

Foubert Jean, L’Art audiovisuel de David Lynch, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2009, 255 p.

Jousse Thierry, David Lynch, Paris, Cahiers du Cinéma, 2012, 103 p.

Kermadec Roland, Lynchland 1, Paris, Editions Objectif Cinéma, 2004, 96 p.

Mac Taggart Allister, The Film paintings of David Lynch, Bristol, Intellect Ltd, 2010, 203 p.

Rodley Chris, Entretiens, Paris, Cahiers du Cinéma, 2003, 284 p.

Thiellement Pacôme, La Main gauche de David Lynch, Paris, PUF, 2010, 125 p.

Zizek Slavoj, Lacrimae rerum, essai sur Kieslowski, Hitchcock, Tarkovski et Lynch, Paris, Editions Amsterdam, 2005.


  • Université Bordeaux Montaigne
    Bordeaux, France (33)


  • Monday, February 13, 2017


  • art, film, cinéma, musique, peinture, photographie, intermédialité, sound design, webdoc


  • Clément Puget
    courriel : clement [dot] puget [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr
  • Emmanuel Plasseraud
    courriel : emmanuel [dot] plasseraud [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr
  • Pierre Beylot
    courriel : pierre [dot] beylot [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr

Information source

  • Clément Puget
    courriel : clement [dot] puget [at] u-bordeaux-montaigne [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« David Lynch and the arts », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, December 16, 2016, https://calenda.org/387564

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search