Location:The Victoria, Grove Road, Bethnal Green, London. Written by Robert Barry In a cheap dingey room on the edge of a trailer park in Big Tuna, the wrong side of small town America. Night for night shooting. Harsh lines of light and shadow across the girl's face. "That Bobby Peru is a black angel," she says sitting up in bed, as he turns away on his side. Tears streak her eye make-up. "This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top... I wish I was somewhere over the rainbow." It's a scene that gestures towards many of the themes of Lynch's macabre road movie, Wild at Heart. It's curious mix of menace and naivete, mixed with this utopian longing associated throughout the film with The Wizard of Oz.
The oak panels and deep ochre tones of The Victoria seem to inhabit a similar world to the small town gothic of Lynch's films. The stuffed head of a stag on the wall recalls the buck in Sheriff Truman's office in Twin Peaks ("The buck stopped here"). Behind the bar, two taxidermied squirrels play patacake, a decapitated mannequin's head lies beside a kitsch Spanish bar tray. The toilet walls are papered with newspapers from the 50's, evoking that same period, both more innocent, and at the same time, more frightening, as Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and so forth. In such company, Laura Hernando's photograpy seems right at home. Amongst the shots of neurasthenic boys and burlesque girls, a band (Official Secrets Act) caught in the midst of a Victorian murder mystery, there is the lyrical beauty of Red Line - market bunting lights caught in reflection against the smoke-blackened wall of a factory - and Weird on Top, from which the exhibition takes its name. A candelabra of lightbulbs held up against the clouds like an offering to heaven, or thunderbolt from the gods. Again we find this same strange mix of childlike wonder and sinister surrealism. This World is Wild at Heart and Weird on Top transposes the obscure poetry of David Lynch's American gothic to a specifically London milieu, losing none of its haunting strangeness along the way. http://www.laurah.co.uk