Dennis Rudolph takes up an attitude of taboo breaking sometimes in his work. The taboo he then is aiming at is the perceived "political correctness" in the art-world which excludes any styles, forms and traditions, which were used by the Nazis or by those thought to have paved their way from its own historical consciousness and artistic consideration. So the first level of the "taboo breakting" takes place in relation to this reality in art world discourse. He inserts romantic, classicist, apocalyptic images together with modernist avantguarde topics such as representation of masses, the aesthetication of masses and inserts them back as current into the image production and consideration of the art world. This sometimes goes hand in hand with a provocative comportment that wants to reclaim for art and artist an avantguard position and disavow all immanent relations between libera democratic attitudes and artistic value. Rather he borrows from 192 avantguardist positions, from the left as well as from the right. With this he has peers in post soviet art.

However, another layer - interwoven, yet not identical - is Rudolph return to etching and print-making, which forms, in my mind the background of all his practice. Doing this he accesses the twin heritages of 16th century print-making, its relation to the reformation and thus to public propaganda, as well as to the 1920 propagandist designs of prints, posters and other media of mass-communication. Interestingly, since today mass-communication is in quite different media - internet, film and TV - with this he already
has a certain quaintness in his practice or, as I would 

prefer to put it, a distance that allows for more to emerge than simply "criticism of mass media
culture". Rather he engages the power of art to engage perception, emotion and the longing for a transcendent truth and posses the question, if we should really abondon that power or simply negate or deny that longing or that power of art. With this he runs counter to the liberal-democrati assumption that all such recognition is inherently totalitarian. This is the "agent provocateur" element of his work. (Not dissimilar to claims of people like Slavoj Zizek, who states that the prohibition of politica representation of the masses in fact destroys the possibility of mass politics.)

What is most interesting to me in Dennis's work, however - and interesting for BERLIN NOIR- is none of the above aspects, though they are important. What is most interesting to me is that he operates "post partem" or "post rupturam". What he points towards with enaging 16th century apocalyptic printing or 1930s monumental architecture is the utter impossibility of "history", of simply telling a tale of continuation, where one adds period to period and receives a "Bildungsroman", an educational novel of european
culture or even the human race. There is a mourning mood in his work,becaus the "Zivilisationsbruch", the utter break through and after Nationa Sociailism is irreversible. Interestingly, with this he seems to acknowledge something on a radical, even emotional level, that most of those who would criticize his imagery will not be able to acknowledge: That we are lost in a time "after", that there is no way to restore "culture", that one cannot simply return to history or to art history and save "what was good". There is a readical, apocalyptic break and IT HAS ALLREADY HAPPENED. I am no always sure that he himself clearly understands this power of his work. It has clear romantic heritages, except that the wastelands it portraits are totally 20th century So the most powerful element of his work is not: oh, lets play provocative and show old fashioned or nazi iconography. It is that by showing this iconograpy he says: this is the world you live in. And he does this not with a typical art world ironic stance, but with an almost naive will to return to art and its power "despite it all". Here he has, on that level than not without irony, yet another historical reference: the "art religion" discourse of the late victorian and emperial ages.

– Felix Ensslin