NANZUKA is pleased to present the first solo exhibitions in Japan featuring the works of American artist Christian Rex van Minnen. Van Minnen was born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA in 1980 and received his BA from Regis University in 2002. He is a painter who currently lives and works in Santa Cruz, California.
Van Minnen creates distinctly unparalleled works that incorporate elements from the diverse and chaotic culture of the 21st century, including modern-day New Age mysticism, death metal, pornography, tattoos, internet memes, surf culture, and social media. Many viewers may find themselves at a loss for words when looking upon the strange and uncanny images he depicts, in which brightly colored jelly candies seemingly dance around mutant, monstrous lumps of flesh emblazoned with rugged inscriptions etched into their skin like tattoos. However, in order to discuss the background behind the supposed fascination with the bizarre and grotesque that permeate Van Minnen’s work, it is first necessary to note the fact that he adheres to classical techniques of oil painting, which had developed independently in 15th century Flanders. Jan van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch, who in art history are recognized as innovators of Early Netherlandish Painting, are both considered as highly important artists particularly due to the satirical and allegorical elements embedded into the aesthetic images that they depict. Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” could indeed be regarded as having been a significant source of inspiration in terms of its affinity with Van Minnen’s work. Depicted in this work, the images of “people who indulge in pleasure and behave erratically”, “people who have succumbed to distortion and mutation as a consequence of their desires”, and “people tormented and feasted on by monstrous creatures in hell”, were once used to illustrate the religious precepts and teachings of Christianity. In our current times however, these depictions can be interpreted by other means and contexts such as surreal imagination, black humor, understanding of diversity, rebellion against prejudice, or the effects of catharsis –that which Van Minnen refers to as an “Anatomy of One’s Identity.”
Van Minnen turns his gaze towards the dark depths of our minds and psyche, gives shape and form to both our fears and prejudices, and further serves to deconstruct the frameworks of race, social status, and sexuality. Using a technique developed 600 years ago of applying multiple layers of thin and glossily translucent pigments, he attempts to convey a fantastical sense of relief and salvation that shines radiantly and reveals its true value within the darkness.
The exhibition marks NANZUKA’s first endeavor to present concurrent solo exhibitions with a single artist across three venues in Tokyo. NANZUKA UNDERGROUND will showcase a selection of new paintings as well as three-dimensional works painted by Van Minnen himself. NANZUKA 2G presents the artist’s surfboard paintings, while 3110NZ exhibits unique works created through his skillful use of monotyping techniques. We welcome viewers to take this opportunity to delve into the richly profound and thought-provoking world of Christian Rex van Minnen’s oeuvre.
It Comes In WavesAugust 28th(Sat.) – September 26th(Sun.), 2021NANZUKA UNDERGROUND (3-30-10, Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan) MAP*Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 – 19:00*Closed on Mondays and holidaysMystic Wipe OutAugust 20th(Fri.) – September 12th(Sun.), 2021NANZUKA 2G (Shibuya Parco 2F) MAP*Opening hours are same as Shibuya PARCOThought FormsAugust 24th(Tue.) – September 18th(Sat.), 20213110NZ by LDH kitchen (1-18-7, Aobadai, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo) MAP*Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 16:00*Closed on Sundays, Mondays, and holidays
About the Gallery
3-30-10 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo