A Case of the Lynchface

I was just reminded of the existence of this 1990 TIME cover. David Lynch as the subject of one of the most subtly AMAZEBALLS portraits ever photographed. I have not been able to find the artist. This thing is going to infect your dreams.

Are those Twin Peaks, or is it cold in here?

Such an arresting image! It does such honor to his twisted legacy!

David Lynch’s particular genius lies in messing with the abject – i.e., aggressively flooding its black reservoirs with aesthetics and pleasure. It took a long time for him to gain a foothold in the collective pop conscious and become a cult figure, because his stuff was always just so UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s hard for us as a culture to readily accept a popular artist who makes a career out of wedging us into dark psychological space.

And I mean the best of “us” – prom queens, strapping young men, femme fatales. When Lynch lays his wonky sights on an American trope, shit gets weird.  Blue Velvet comes to mind, of course: a gorgeous-looking film noir unraveling at the edges, shots of Isabella Rosselini’s creamy skin spliced with physical torture and psychosis. Lynch’s work melts in your mouth and has a poisonous aftertaste.

And it’s all captured here in this crazy photo. On one side, he’s world-weary Mr. Director…on the other, bathed in sickly green, is a lazy-eyed monster. The shadow even makes his mouth appear to quirk up in a devilish smirk on the right. Grotesque bulgy little eye glancing into the gates of Hell. Perfection.

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