September 28, 2015

Magritte’s influence on Lynch’s Red Room

After attending the Degas exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago a couple weeks back, I did a deep dive online of the French impressionist.

As Internet deep dives often go, I  found my way elsewhere — specifically to this René Magritte Tumblr. And as I started scrolling, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between some of Magritte’s paintings and the Red Room from David Lynch’s cult classic Twin Peaks. (I was also considering buying this Red Room/Peanuts mashup t-shirt at the time, further connecting my brain between the two. )

First, the Red Room:

red-room-1

And the hallway between rooms:

red-room-2

The red curtains. Chevron black and white patterned floor. The sculptures.

Now consider Magritte’s 1926 piece entitled Primevere:

primever

Red curtains, black and white checkered floor. The woman figure in this piece could also suggest the bizzaro Laura Palmer the viewer encounters in the Red Room — although maybe that’s a reach.

Red curtains pop up all over Magritte’s work: After the Water, the Clouds, NocturneBlue Cinema and Gioconda, to name a few. A back and white checkered floor is seen in 1926’s Checkmate.

1948’s Memory also puts out some Red Room vibes with the red curtains and sculpture head:

memory

A quick Google search for Lynch and Magritte turned up this Lynch quote:

I love Magritte. He’s one of my all-time favourites. I like a lot of his paintings. I just saw the Magritte show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and I was overwhelmed by The Menaced Assassin. You know the painting with two people hiding outside the door, inside the door there’s a woman on a doctor’s thing and there’s a phonograph? It’s a mysterious, beautiful thing.

Ren Morris also noticed the heavy influence of Magritte on Lynch, and connected other dots such as chess and owls in his paintings — both Twin Peaks motifs as well. And there’s this Laura Palmer-esque blond woman from Magritte’s The Ignorant Fairy (curtains, too!):

ignorant-fairy

Lynch’s love for Magritte doesn’t come as much of surprise. Like Magritte, Lynch is a surrealist, bending the unconscious into the conscious, dreams into reality.

filed under: art, television

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