Dark Passage/Unlimited

Bertram Rutz
07.09.2018 – 28.10.2018

The exhibition 'Dark Passage/Unlimited' shows excerpts from two painterly cycles: 'Unlimited (Almost Like The Blues)' from 2014 – 2017 and 'Dark Passage (Memories of Film Noir)' from 2017 – 2018. The first cycle tells the story of jazz and blues in America from the early 20th century to the 1960s. Splinters and fragments of places, people and events: Working in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, the alleys of old New Orleans, life in Chicago and Harlem, the struggle for self-determination of African Americans in the civil rights movement. The angry soul of the blues, the swinging rhythm of jazz, the spiritual ecstasy of the gospel. An entire century is reflected in the mythical history of his music.

The second cycle is a homage to the "Black Series" of American cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. The fatalistic world of these films depicted a dreamy chiaroscuro world full of nocturnal big city streets, gloomy hotel corridors and rooming houses, populated by disillusioned and violent men and siren-like "femmes fatales". It reflected the subconscious of a deeply insecure and crisis-ridden society after the end of the Second World War.

The two cycles are like two sides of the same coin, complementing and commenting on each other: the free-flowing world of jazz on the one hand, the shadowed and claustrophobic images of noir on the other. And just as the blues is the music of the darkest hour, just before dawn, film noir represents classic late-night cinema, whose stories haunt us into our dreams. Both cycles show painting as an inner journey into memories, fantasies and fears. Starting from films and music, but further narrated into a very personal world, where each individual painting is a closed whole, but the larger context only becomes visible in the overall view.