Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Christian Rex van Minnen
18 x 12 in.
REX VAN MINNEN: Hey man
KUKEC: not sure if this is the right place...
looks different did google fuck with some shit lately?
are you there? YO!
REX VAN MINNEN: Yeah, hangin in there.
It looks the same to me
You have my undivided attention
KUKEC: Awesome! I guess this is the right place just gotta make sure we save this before we disconnect!
So thank you agreeing to participate!
REX VAN MINNEN: my pleasure
I'm happy that we've stayed connected over the past few years
KUKEC: I would like to start and please feel free to inject as we go along...
So how do you feel... About beauty?
REX VAN MINNEN: I like beauty that is, to quote Wayne White, 'embarrassing'
KUKEC: ok... why? does it have to do with some kind of honesty?
Wayne is from the south...
REX VAN MINNEN: yeah, honesty and vulnerability. some humility/humiliation.
a kind of painful joy, I guess
KUKEC: I'm not sure... but I think about beauty a lot when I look at your work... and the images the beings that are in your focus with in your frames... your windows... your paintings are fucking grotesque... I can stop looking at the grotesque beauty. Why is it so beautiful?
REX VAN MINNEN: I don't know. I like the tension, that's kind of what I'm looking for. beauty and horror writhing, lubricated with humor and absurdity.
All of the stuff I like is confused like that
I like confusion
I am confused
KUKEC: I understand that it's beautiful... primarily ... the craft the application of the past is superb! it's simple painted well... painted very well, you are a fine crafts man, your art of paint and light stands alone... you could paint anything... but you choose these beings... do you see them as human? do they have mans... personas? Consciousness?
major typos! so sorry... the craft the application of the paint is superb! do they have names?...
REX VAN MINNEN: They're all me. These emotions that I don't know if I would get rid of if I could. They are somehow useful, even if at times bewildering and depressing. It's a sort of operating system I guess, we all need one.
I see you work as also wrestling with some pretty dreadful ideas, but in a funny way. painful and funny and beautiful.
Most of the time, at least recently, they are just called 'Self Portrait as..' or 'Self Portrait with...'
KUKEC: yes I am a misanthrope...
REX VAN MINNEN: Even the still lifes are just me, as a ridiculous blob, buffooned and festooned
KUKEC: I wrestle with being human every day... but lets focus on you for now!
REX VAN MINNEN: ok, I like attention
REX VAN MINNEN: What about it?
KUKEC: I hear curators throw it around every now and again but it never goes any further than that...
REX VAN MINNEN: I just recently heard the term 'uncanny valley' from Adam Helms - not sure what it means but it sounds fucking cool
None of what I make seems foreign or alien to me tho, so not sure if it's apt.
KUKEC: it seems to me that humans have a way of manifesting destiny through uttering things... so I was simple curious if that word made it your way... but then I remember that you don't necessarily work that way.
How do you think of your self? artist painter?
REX VAN MINNEN: it depends of the level of insecurity I'm feeling at the moment! haha. spend one night in Chelsea, or wherever like that, and I feel more like a painter. I'm not bouncing signals of my grandmas letters off the moon and onto a tray of scones playing the piano (the scones, playing), which is fucking cool, but makes me feel like not really an artist. I just sit and stew and push paint around. Other times, yeah, fuck yeah, I'm an artist. haha.
I should try some new things.
But I really love painting.
KUKEC: Love it! there is confidence in your swagger! Awesome a clear tone...
Time how do you feel about time? in your life and indoor work... the beings feel like they could be from now and before...
I ment to type in your work but auto correct made it indoor... do you paint inside or outside?
REX VAN MINNEN: haha, INDO foo!
I spend a lot of time thinking about my connection to the past, my family's legacy. My Dutch-via-South Africa roots. It's some dark and sometimes beautiful history.
I want to forge a connection with my ancestors but that comes at a heavy cost.
REX VAN MINNEN: atonement
KUKEC: like forgiveness?
REX VAN MINNEN: I've never thought of it like that until now, that that would be the desired outcome.
I guess I would have to let go of all this useful guilt
no more grist for the mill!
the Calvinist endures
KUKEC: I like reciprocity... better cause it feels like some thing on going... where atonement... feels like a debt has been paid. No?
REX VAN MINNEN: Reparations vs Truth and Reconciliation?
KUKEC: reward and punishment
beautiful and ugly
REX VAN MINNEN: My father protested against Apartheid, got involved in liberation theology. When I was a kid, we were raised to think about atonement, how to right the wrongs of the past evils of our ancestors. In school I would get jumped by the Latinos on a regular basis, being one of only a few white boys in the school. When it was happening, and afterwords, I would think, something to the effect of, 'I deserve this. We deserve this.
Taking one for the team!' haha. so fucked up. Anyway, I'm not sure about all this. It's a confusing subject.
I hold onto a lot of pain from that period of my life.
KUKEC: Wow... I thank you for your gratitude and grace... that is a lot... I need to see and think a bit more... Thank you Christian. It was so good to talk with you again after how many years?
REX VAN MINNEN: Sure thing. Aside from digitally bumping into each other, since fall 2011.
KUKEC: Nice! Congratulations to you and your wife! I am happy that you two are parents in this world.
REX VAN MINNEN: thanks man. Desmond Rex is a beautiful little human. life is good.
KUKEC: BRAVO BRAVA BRAVO! MERDE!
Ok that was fun! Thank you. I hope you enjoyed. Let me copy and paste this conversation...