Journey of discovery

Michael Buthe – Die Reise nach Jamaica

Michael Buthe Die Reise nach Jamaica 1984, mixed technique on canvas, 270 x 395 cm, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, photo: Carl Brunn

A stormy sea? An imaginary map or the grimace of a god? The painting Die Reise nach Jamaica evokes various associations that defy all attempts of a definite interpretation. Michael Buthe is an artistic nomad. The destinations of his journeys are foreign cultures and their traditions, rites, and ceremonies, which he contrasts with the constraints of western society. 

This search for otherness, a magical place at which consciousness can unfold individually, shapes his artistic career. He understands his paintings as individual mythologies. “I would like to suggest that many people develop their own sphere of experience. Not as a dream world. People should live more consciously. Emotionality and spontaneity play a major role in this,” Buthe said in an interview (Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, 1977).