Cinefiles will immediately recognise the title of this collective art exhibition; Kiss Me Deadly is a 1955 movie that stands square-jawed and toe-to-toe with the best of the late Los Angeles film noir detective novel adaptations. There are plenty of dark twists and unpleasant surprises in the Mike Hammer mystery, and the same can be said for the neo-noir art which took the hard-boiled sentiments of Kiss Me Deadly and the LA scene of the ’40s and ’50s as its inspiration.
At the exhibition hosted by London’s Paradise Row, film and sculpture accompany the paintings and prints we have featured here, making for an immersive and suitably claustrophobic experience. A dozen artists are responsible for the works, some working collaboratively, others as solo artists, but despite the diversity of styles, Kiss Me Deadly: a group show of contemporary neo-noir from Los Angeles is a coherent collection.
Some pieces are best displayed on spartan white walls under the glare of fluorescent lighting, the better to illuminate these paintings’ dark and hidden corners, to expose their nasty little secrets. Others are mounted against dark backgrounds, blurring the line between fiction and reality, and letting the trauma-hit creations bleed out into the room. Get there before time of death is pronounced on 9th March.