“Dub Like Dirt,” the name Düsseldorf painter Stoya gave his recent exhibition, is taken from a CD compilation of King Tubby material from the mid-’70s. The title is hard to reconcile with the colorful, organic, and ornamental forms in Stoya’s paintings. Nor does the presentation match the association with dirt—the pictures are exhibited in storage conditions, piled in an orderly fashion one behind the other. Where then do the contradictory elements meet?

Musical borrowings and references, particularly quotations from titles or lyrics, are hardly unusual in visual art. Mostly these amount to attempts at contextualization or clues to a mood. They sometimes strike an autobio-graphical note but seldom demand any detailed interpretation. But with such a pronounced contrast between an exhibition and its title, the words appear to function as a kind of key. On a superficial level, “dub” suggests

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