2015: GOMA turns 10 countdown


As we continue our countdown to GOMA’s tenth birthday celebrations on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December 2016, we look back to 2015 when GOMA exclusively presented the first exhibition in Australia to explore the 50 year career of the acclaimed Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker David Lynch (14 March – 8 June 2015) sending fans of 1990’s Twin Peaks into a frenzy when they heard about the celebrations planned for the opening, timed during the 25th anniversary of the series.

David Lynch at the exhibition media conference / © Photograph: Mark Sherwood

Alongside his esteemed career as a filmmaker, Lynch has worked as a visual artist, producing an extensive body of paintings, photography and works on paper. ‘David Lynch: Between Two Worlds’ — three words borrowed from the unforgettable ‘Fire Walk with Me’ poem — was a rare opportunity to consider Lynch’s entire creative vision and the relationships between his practice as an artist, filmmaker and musician.

Developed closely with the artist, our exhibition featured more than 200 works and was organised around three ideas – ‘Man and machine’, ‘The extra-ordinary’, and ‘Psychic Aches’. Moving between the porous divide of the body and the world it inhabits, the exhibition explored the subjects of industry and organic phenomena; representations of inner conflict; and the possibility of finding a deeper reality in our experience of the everyday.


Throughout his career Lynch has explored the use of sound and music to create mood and foster emotion, suggesting ‘Sound is almost like a drug. It’s so pure that when it goes in your ears, it instantly does something to you.’ Lynch’s musical projects – as both a solo and collaborating musician – were explored throughout the exhibition and were the inspiration for two special exhibition projects.

During the opening night of ‘Between Two Worlds’ American singer, model, and actress Chrysta Bell concluded her set with a cover of Sycamore Trees, written by Angelo Badalamenti and Lynch, originally performed by Jimmy Scott for the final episode of Twin Peaks 1990–91. In 2011, Bell released her debut solo album which was co-written and produced by Lynch. Lynch has called Bell his ‘muse’ and it’s easy to see why.

Another exclusive for the exhibition was Lynch in conversation over the opening weekend celebrations. In ‘David Lynch: In Conversation’ Lynch shared his insights into his life, his work and his many passions – painting, film, music and meditation during his first public appearance in Australia.

Also the music of the television series Twin Peaks 1990-91 by composer Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch was reimagined in a unique performance by Xiu Xiu. Led by Jamie Stewart, Angela Seo and Shayna Dunkelman.

A mix of post punk and synth pop, classical and experimental styles, it’s full of brutality and emotional depth. Xiu Xiu’s performance isn’t simply a recreation of the Twin Peaks music, but provides an entirely new interpretation; one emphasising its chaos and drama.

“The music of Twin Peaks is everything that we aspire to as musicians and is everything that we want to listen to as music fans. It is romantic, it is terrifying, it is beautiful, it is unnervingly sexual. The idea of holding the ‘purity’ of the 1950’s up to the cold light of a violent moon and exposing the skull beneath the frozen, worried smile has been a stunning influence on us. There is no way that we can recreate Badalamenti and Lynch’s music as it was originally played. It is too perfect and we could never do its replication justice. Our attempt will be to play the parts of the songs as written, meaning, following the harmony melody but to arrange in the way that it has shaped us as players.” (Xiu Xiu)

The second special exhibition project was by HEXA, a collaborative project by Brisbane-based sound engineer, curator and composer Lawrence English and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart that explored the physicality of sound and its abilities to infiltrate and occupy the body.

HEXA presented a new composition responding to Lynch’s photographs of disused factories. Using the factory photographs as a source, their performance draws root from the texture of Lynch’s images, the imagined and actual spaces, and the spectral histories contained within them.


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In ‘The Promised Land’ (28 March – 21 June 2015) Michael Parekowhai’s expansive practice was profiled through photography and sculpture spanning more than two decades. Parekowhai is one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary artists, the exhibition featured new works and key loans alongside a selection from our Collection. Primarily sculptural, his works often play with scale and space, using humour to comment on the intersections between national narratives, colonial histories and popular culture.

Win the 112 page full-colour exhibition catalogue, the first substantial publication devoted to Parekowhai’s practice.

In 2105 you may remember ‘Terrain: Indigenous Australian objects and representations’ (10 May 2014 – 6 September 2015) which explored relationships through the colours, textures, lines and forms of paintings, weaving, body adornments and sculptures; ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland art’ (11 Jul 2015 – 11 Oct 2015) profiled more than 30 emerging, mid-career and senior artists working across drawing, painting, photography, video, installation, performance, ceramics and sculpture reflecting the dynamic character of art in the state; ‘Robert Macpherson: The Painter’s Reach’ (25 Jul 2015 – 18 Oct 2015) explored the work of senior Australian artist MacPherson and included paintings, installations, ephemera and works on paper, showing how the artist’s reach begins with the particular and extends far beyond; ‘Daniel Crooks: Motion Studies’ (8 Aug 2015 – 25 Oct 2015 ) celebrated Crooks’ significant contribution to new media art in Australia and traced the emergence of this recent transition into sculptural forms from his early works in video art and photography; and ‘The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8)’ (21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016) emphasised the role of performance in recent art, with live actions, video, kinetic art, figurative painting and sculpture exploring the use of the human form to express cultural, social and political ideas, and the central role of artists in articulating experiences specific to their localities by more than 80 artists and groups.