christian rex van minnen’s paintings are brutal, beautiful and bizarre
(above) duckface | 2015 | oil/linen | 12×16″
all images courtesy of christian rex van minnen




somewhere at the intersection between the dutch golden age, surrealism, tattoo art, candy culture and the human body lies the playfully wicked paintings of christian rex van minnen. the new york-based creative manages to amalgamate many, if not all, of these seemingly disparate themes, motifs and artistic eras into each of his vividly grotesque works.


‘I enjoy seeing diversity and contrast of imagery and textures that provoke a similarly diverse and contrasting emotional response,’ van minnen tells designboom. ‘I’m interested in expressing emotional states that are difficult to express. I am drawn to complexity and ambiguity. I’m looking for that dynamic balance between attraction and repulsion that creates a charge or threshold.’

still life with meermin and jelly rings | 2015 | oil/linen | 48×72″




still lifes and portraiture that subtly reference the style of van minnen’s biggest artistic influence, rembrandt, are distorted to include sticky gummy candy, tattooed snakes and shapes, oozing intestines, dismembered limbs, stretched skin, nipples and cartoons. with an old master’s approach toward painting paired with these signature surrealist distortions, van minnen hopes that the viewer feels ‘something new; something challenging’. 

well, look what crawled outta the woods | 2015 | oil/linen | 26×20″




from a personal perspective, the artist tells designboom about the most challenging aspect of his work — time. ‘they take a lot of time to realize,’ he says. ‘it is also a constant challenge to stay close to difficulty.’ his favorite work ‘deez mothafuckin chakraz’ is a gruesome yet poetic mix of the fragile human body and glossy gummy candy. painted with oil on linen, the shadow of a falling figure seemingly ejecting his innards — like a soul leaving the body — as a network of organs and intestines, rendered as sugar-coated gels and colorful stringy sweets. see more of christian rex van minnen’s intriguing work below.

you sharpen my knife, I’ll sharpen yours | 2015 | oil/panel | 24×18″




copenhagen’s gallery poulsen presents a selection of work by van minnen at PULSE contemporary art fair in new york from march 3 – 6, 2016.

deez mothafucking chakraz | 2015 | oil/linen | 48×72″

transparent and sweet | 2015 | oil/panel | 24×18″

black flowers | 2015 | oil/linen | 48×72″

self portrait as catherine opie’s back with mongolian in feigned flight | 2015 | oil/panel | 24×18″

still-life with journal entry and diabetes | 2015 | oil/linen | 48×78″

self portrait as interior decorator | 2015 | oil/panel | 24×18″

google gnostic | 2014 | oil/linen | 48×78″

thunder perfect mind | 2014 | oil/linen | 48×72″

biggie patch kidney pie | 2015 | oil/linen | 44×60″