Reflections #4: Inside David Lynch’s House, Kinetic Art and Film Tips

Kunsthal Rotterdam // Dutch Girl in London

On this last day of 2018 I’m reflecting on my month of December. From a brief visit into David Lynch’s artistic world to my latest film recommendations: read all about it here in my final recap of the year!

Christmas break in the Netherlands

As I’m writing this I’m recuperating from a fun-packed week back in the Netherlands. Besides three Christmas meals and the annual Christmas drinks gathering with friends, hubby and I also made some time to visit a number of amazing exhibitions. In Kunsthal Rotterdam we saw the engaging show ACTION <> REACTION about 100 years of kinetic art. (see cover photo)

Inside David Lynch’s house

At the other side of the country, we visited There’s someone in my house at Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, featuring artworks by David Lynch. I’ve seen most of his films and also of course all of Twin Peaks, but didn’t know much about his artworks. Being able to see such a comprehensive show of his drawings, paintings and other curious works was one of the highlights of my recent trip to the Netherlands.

David Lynch exhibition Maastricht // Dutch Girl in London

Jan Švankmajer: the master of stop-animation films and creator of disturbed worlds

A few hours before we stepped on the plane to return to the UK, we visited EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam for yet another one of their fantastic retrospectives. Their current show is on the influential Czech film-maker Jan Švankmajer, called The Alchemical Wedding. Previous shows I’ve seen at EYE were about American film director David Cronenberg, Italian filmmaker Michelango Antonioni, Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller and American artists Brothers Quay. I always tell people that even if you’re not interested in exhibitions or cinema, you should visit EYE Filmmuseum even if it were just to admire the curious architecture or have a cup of coffee in the charming café right by the water.

Jan Švankmajer exhibition Amsterdam // Dutch Girl in London

In December I wrote the following blog posts

Reflections December 2018

Films and series to watch

As hubby and I are about to start our annual New Year’s 2-day film marathon, let’s have a look at what films and series I’ve watched this last month.

New in the cinema / on Netflix

  • Wreck-It Ralph 2
  • Dumplin’

Old(er) films

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me
  • Alpha
  • The Gateway
  • How to Be Single
  • Le Jeu / Nothing to Hide
  • Nanny McPhee
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • 7 Days in Entebbe

December recommendations

  • The Brand New Testament
  • Mr. Right
  • Three Identical Strangers 

Series

  • House of Cards, season 6
  • Ozark, season 2
  • Norsemen, season 1-2
  • Lilyhammer, season 1-3

Meh, not that great

  • The Do-Over
  • Super Bob
  • The Change-Up

Santa Claus <> Sinterklaas

We all know that we get our Christmas presents from generous and jolly Santa, but did you know that the famous Santa Claus figure was originally introduced in America by Dutch colonists? They brought the tradition of ‘Sinter klaas’ (nowadays called ‘Sinterklaas’ in the Netherlands) to the new country with them where his name eventually evolved into Santa Claus. Many European countries, including the Netherlands, still celebrate the nameday of Saint Nicholas early December. You can learn all about Santa’s elder brother in the article I wrote about him here: Sinterklaas: About a Saint and a Castrated Rooster.

Reflections #4 // Dutch Girl in London

More art highlights

Looking back at the photos I took this month, December was especially filled with art. I went to see nine exhibitions in total, ranging from old black and white documentary photographs to contemporary video installations.

Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock

The month started with a visit to the Royal Academy on 1 December to visit Oceania. While that particular exhibition might be closed already, you can still see this Cornelia Parker installation in the courtyard. The house (which is just a facade actually) is a replica of the famous Bates motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. It is believed that Hitchcock in turn was inspired by the Edward Hopper painting House by the railroad.

Cornelia Parker PsychoBarn // Dutch Girl in London

Black and white documentary photography

If you’ve read my previous post I See the World in Black and White, you already know I’m fascinated with black and white photography. Considering my other favourite genres are street and documentary photography the exhibition Roman Vishniac Rediscovered at the Photographers’ Gallery was the ultimate show for me as it combined all these genres.

Roman Vishniac photography // Dutch Girl in London

Roman Vishniac was an Russian born American born photographer who is best known for his photographic records of Jewish life in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars. It’s fascinating (and sickening) to see how Vishniac managed to document how Jews slowly lost their basic rights under Nazi rule. What struck me most of this show was his photographic records of the arrival of Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors in America in the aftermath of the war. I don’t think I had ever seen images or learned much about the lives of European Jews who immigrated to America to build up their new lives there.

How rituals and traditions from the Pacific made their appearance in London

The comprehensive show Oceania at the Royal Academy highlighted the art and culture of the indigenous people of Oceania. This exhibition, which closed early December’ marked the 250-year anniversary of Captain James Cook‘s first voyage to the Pacific. (This was by the way almost 200 years after the Dutch first explored this distant destination.)

Having had visited New Zealand earlier this year and learned more about Maōri culture, I felt more personally engaged with the exhibition. I was quite surprised to see someone had spilled sugar in front of a statue and that no one had cleaned it up. And I also couldn’t work out why there were some bundles of leaves lying around in odd places. A security guard who overheard hubby and I talking about this, he explained to us visitors had left them behind out of respect. He also shared his very special experience at the gallery the week before with us. He had noticed a group of women wearing the most extraordinary headpieces come in to visit the show. Then, entirely out of the blue, they started chanting and praying. It was a very impressive and humbling experience he told us and I wish I had been there to witness it.

Oceania exhibition // Dutch Girl in London

And the rest:

  • Robert Rauschenberg – Spreads 1975-83 at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London (until 26 January 2019)
  • Gordon Matta-Clark – Works 1970-1978 at David Zwirner gallery, London (closed 20 December 2018)
  • Strange Days, memories of the Future at Strand X, London (closed 9 December 2018)
  • Krzysztof Gil – Welcome to the Country where the Gypsy Has Been Hunted at l’étrangère, London (until 5 January 2019)

Now it’s time to get the DVDs and snacks out and get comfy on the sofa with hubby for our movie marathon.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019!

I’m curious to know what you’ve been up to this last month so please share your stories in a comment below, thanks!
Zarina xx

 

7 thoughts on “Reflections #4: Inside David Lynch’s House, Kinetic Art and Film Tips

  1. Pingback: The Dutch Girl Tales #10: drie museumtips voor een cultureel verantwoorde start van 2019! – Dutch Girl in London

  2. Esther van den Bergh

    When I see how long my post is, looking at it now it is placed, I feel a bit ashamed…
    Maybe I should try a blog of my own someday, hahaha! 😉

    1. Dutch Girl in London

      Haha, don’t worry! I’m always happy to read your supportive comments. Starting your own blog? Yeah, why not?! I think it would be very informative and interesting to many people 🙂 x

  3. Esther van den Bergh

    Busy month again! And I also had a busy month!

    I went to Enschede for a weekend (Saturday/Sunday) with Valystaxi and by train. Since I had not traveled by train for many years (last time I did they still had paper tickets!), and certainly not with my COPD and oxygen dependance, this was quite an undertaking! I had to make sure there was oxygen at my friend’s place first of all. I made sure I did not have to switch trains en route for this is an enormous effort for me, getting in and out of the train. The Intercities have a two step stairs and stairs are always difficult for me. Two steps I can manage but not with a stroller and a weekend bag with me! Making an appointment with NS Service to get help does not work when you are late! Luckily I met real nice passengers on all the moments getting on/off, they all offered to help! It was a real adventure for the taxi was late, I missed my train, the driver dropped me of at the wrong site which had as a result that I was not on the right place to be picked up on Sunday again. Had to walk such a long distance, unbelievable this guy! On Sunday I stood out in the cold for 45 minutes, had to call them again etc. What a hassle! They did receive a complaint afterwards from me. Also had to phone Valys to re-schedule my taxi in Enschede (more than 20 minutes on hold!) while on the train on Saturday. It was freezing cold that weekend, we had the first snow of the year! How cold train stations are I had forgotten!
    When leaving Enschede station I did not know how to exit! I had no OV-chipcard, just a printed ticket. I had to find out you have to use the QR-code for this. Lessons learned: never do a thing like this with cold weather (or very hot weather for that matter)…
    But I had a great weekend and again I can mark this occasion as another victory over my limitations! Proud of myself! Some people say that I am crazy to do things like this with my limitation but I really do not want it to stop me from doing things like this. Of course it is scary, but it is also very rewarding. A lot of things I can really never ever do but I try to push my limits.

    I went to the Rijksmuseum! A museum that was on my list for a long, long time, I visited it when I was in primary school, so a real long time ago. I made a list of some of the things I really wanted to see for it is a huge place and I have to visit it more than once to see everything I want to see. It is a very accessible place for people with handicaps etc., and a very beautiful building. Never knew there were such beautiful mosaics on the walls, inside and outside. A great belated birthday present this was!

    At X-mas I went to Haarlem and Vijfhuizen, with my Canta, by myself. A great difference with last year when I was so very ill I had to be collected and brought home again. First day we celebrated with Jim’s family: his ex, her mother, sister, brother-in-law, their son and his grilfriend, my stepson and stepdaughter, son’s partner and their children, Chinese fondue which is really tasty (and much healthier then fondue with oil).
    Second day I went to my sisters, they had the leftovers from the day before that her mother-in-law cooked. A fun two days!

    Last Sunday I went to the movies with a friend, a birthday present for her, long overdue. Going to the movies always is difficult. I have gone three times now in the last two years, before that I had not visited a cinema for more than 25 years. The sound volume nowadays is so high, I have to bring earbuds for loud noise(s) raises my hearth rate and subsequently my breathing increases, beyond my control. Sound also has vibrations and things like this work very strong on my breathing. Even with earbuds the sound was sometimes almost unbearable. Action movies I really can not go to anymore, such a shame sometimes. We went and saw Bohemiam Rhapsody, the story of Queen cq Freddy Mercury. I truly enjoyed the movie, I grew up with their music, I never realised they had so many, many hits! A lot of moments that gave me goosebumps. How lonely Freddy Mercury must have been, utterly sad….

    The last day of the year I stayed at home, I really can not go out when there are fireworks exploding anywhere in my neighbourhood. Just like today, I have to stay inside, maybe even tomorrow as well. The amount of fine dust that comes into the air in this one night is just as much as the total yearly emissions of ALL Dutch road traffic, and then I am not even mentioning all the parts of heavey metal that come into the air because of the color pigments used. I like ornamental fireworks but I would like to see this done in a different way, like organised centrally so there is not so much nuisance for people like me with COPD, and also for all these poor pets etc. The pollution is enormous as well. If I was ever forced to spend such a night outside with fireworks like these, I am certainly dead the next day…. So it was a bit of a boring evening/night by myself with the cat hiding under the bed!

    I am starting the new year a lot better than I started it, after my hospital admittance in February I had no lungrelated problems this year which is really extraordinary! I worked real hard with physiotherapy and my physiotherapist and I concluded after reviewing my charts that I am finally back at the level I was working on in the summer of 2017 before I fell ill in October. Took about 10 months though! But: proud of myself I never skipped once even though I was feeling tired or did not feel like it. Always very tired afterwards, sometimes even the day after but results eventually showed!

    Again a long post, but you know me, always the same! 🙂
    I wish you and Robin a very good 2019 with lots of exciting trips, great music, beautiful things on your path, wonderful people and encounters, and last but not least, good health! xx

    1. Dutch Girl in London

      Thanks Esther for sharing your month with me here as well. Wow, you’ve been a busy lady, so impressive! Even I find yravelling by train in NL rather challenging (for several reasons) so I can only imagine what it would be like for you under such difficult circumstances. Yuk, this sounds like quite the nightmare weekend to me, travelwise, but glad to hear you had a nice weekend otherwise AND that you considered the outing as a victory.
      It looks like you had many victories this last month (or year even) and I’m both happy for and proud of you 🙂
      Interesting to hear how certain things ‘healthy’ people like myself take for granted, like going to the museum or cinema, travelling and even New Year’s, can be not only difficult but even lethal for people with health issues. Thank you for sharing and making myself and other readers more aware of this.
      Very best wishes for you too Esther! Wishing you many more (successful) adventures for 2019 and that your health will at least stay as it is 🙂 xxx

  4. Justine Robinson

    I have only just got into you bloggs. I love the information you give. So fascinating where you go and what you see. So impressed. I love Hitchcock. I also enjoyed The girl with the Dragon Tatto films. Thankyou for doing these.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.