R. B. Kitaj: Cecil Court Passage eller erindringens teater

   Maleriets sceneri er Cecil Court, en gade i London, der er berømt for dens antikvarboghandlere. Kitaj elskede at hjemsøge denne gade. Billedet viser kunstneren hvilende på en stol mens figurer fra hans liv dukker op i gaden bag ved ham. Kitaj har forklaret at den teatralske komposition er inspireret af de omrejsende jiddishe teatertrupper i Centraleuropa, som hans bedsteforældre har fortalt ham om, og af læsningen af Franz Kafkas dagbøger. Afdøde Mr Seligman står til venstre med en buket blomster.

R. B. Kitaj: Cecil Court, London W.C.2.
(The Refugees)  1983-84

He wrote, 'I have a lot of experience of refugees from Germany and that's how this painting came about. My dad and grandmother ... just barely escaped.' The work shows the artist reclining on a sofa while figures from his life pop out of the street behind him. Kitaj has explained that this theatrical composition was inspired by the peripatetic troupes of the Yiddisher Theatre in Central Europe, which he had learned about from his grandparents and from in the diaries of the writer Franz Kafka.(quotation from   www.tate.org.uk)

They were largely cast from the beautiful craziness of Yiddish Theater, which I only knew at second hand from my maternal grandparents, but fell upon in Kafka, who gives over a hundred loving pages of his diaries to a grand passion for these shabby troupes, despised by easthetes and hebraists who were revolted by them... Excited, according to my own habits, I began  ( in Paris, California, N.Y., Jerusalem and London ) to collect scarce books and pictures about this shadow world, the trail af which has not quite grown cold in my own past life. I would  stage some of the syntactical strategies and mysteries and lunacities of Yiddish Theater in a London Refuge, Cecil Court, the book alley I'd prowled all my life in England, which fed so much into my dubious pictures from its shops and their refugee booksellers, especially the late Mr Seligmann (holding flowers at left) who sold me many art books and prints. Another day I'll tell who the other people in the painting are supposed to be,  whether aestetes find such midrashic gloss and emendation revolting or not. For now, I must confess that I wish I could continue to paint the shopsigns in the spirit of a distinction made by my favorite antisemite, Pound, who said that symbols quickly exhaust their references, while signs renew theirs."  (Quotation from : Kitaj by Marco Livingstone, Phaidon Press 1999 p. 194)