2009. It’s always a great pleasure and at the same time a big challenge to work for an icon that—over the years—became an admired inspirational source of one’s own. When the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl (near Cologne, Germany) commissioned us to design the book accompanying its exhibition “David Lynch—Dark Splendor” those bells sounded clearly. The show was to exhibit all the different works of art which David Lynch—apart from being a world-famous master of cinema—created during decades, including paintings, watercolors, lithographs, drawings and sketches, photographs, site-specific installation art, and short films.

Super Grotesk, custom type

300 mm × 240 mm

352 pages

Hardcover with dust jacket

2 editions, German and English

Published by Hatje Cantz


Our concept was to bring the exhibition’s experience of a journey through the world of David Lynch back to life in a book, that shouldn’t be a “mere” exhibition catalogue. We developed a sequencing of the more than 300 illustrations, citing David Lynch’s film language by using flashbacks or previews of things to come. There is no hermetic grid of work group chapters, but a constant flow of ideas. And the different techniques start to interact when e.g. one of the “Distorted Nudes” on one page meets industrial photography on the next. And DL loved it. The exuberant splendor of the images is contrasted (and heightened) by a strict geometrical setting of the texts in Karl-Heinz Lange’s version of Super Grotesk, visually sounding of an industrial neverland unlocatable in time. To underline the great theme of Surrealism throughout the texts they are printed on a miscolor somewhere between flesh and rotten Barbie rose, an innocence that has been lost. For the cover’s title finally we designed special letters, using geometrical forms—all lower case–to place the artist in today’s world of art. The exhibition’s subtitle “Dark Splendor” is printed in clear varnish, becoming visible only in special moments when rays of light meet the spot.

“The mystery of David Lynch is not solved in this book, but the mysteriousness of his work becomes evident. An overdue book full of gorgeous images and legible texts about David Lynch and the arts.” Schweizer Fernsehen (Swiss Television)