Exhibition: Feline Minne
Added: (Sat Jan 07 2017)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
Press Release / Artist Bio / Statement
Féline Minne, born in Ghent, Belgium, lives and works in Hampstead, London. She is doing her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art. She has a BA in animation filmmaking from Kask Ghent, Belgium, and she did an Erasmus year at the Kunstakademie Münster, Germany.
The artist / writer builds her work mainly around characters she created in her early youth. It’s a fictive world she modeled a long time ago, back when she was looking for a way to cope with the rather peculiar reality she was living in as a child. But during her early artistic education, she felt that her teachers pushed her to leave her self-created imagery in favour of a, what they called, more serious genre. In the artist’s words: ‘I had to kill my darlings.’
Today, many years later, Féline Minne is trying to re-create those characters she loved so much.
‘I’m bringing my darlings back to life.’
With her new work, My San Francisco - a series of 1950’s animation film background inspired paintings, she is having her first solo exhibition in London in January 2017.
‘Being an artist is kind of like playing god, I can create an alternative, personal universe.’
Her dreamlike paintings show stories without beginnings or endings. The Stairs lead to nowhere and everywhere. The paintings mean nothing and everything. The artist is constantly looking for a feeling of wonder. Wishing Window and Wisdom Teeth show that she welcomes randomness. Randomness like a roll of the dice in Luke Reinhardt’s novel, The Dice Man. Her way of composing an image is informed by the big bang and how atoms behave randomly.
Her interest in play can be seen in her series of paintings called Tetris. She is serious about the importance of play and often refers to Donald Winnicott’s theories about play and reality. It has been proven that playing Tetris helps people with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Tetris is like life. A lot keeps coming at you, and you have to give it all a place. Sometimes there is not enough time. Then the bricks accumulate and holes appear in-between the rows. If it works well, a few rows disappear and that feels great, it evokes a feeling of release and relaxation. This act of play describes her way of working. She works intuitively.
She makes collages from her images - like in the cut-out animation films that she has made before. (You can see them on Vimeo.) Animation films and paintings are both moving images, she says. ‘The way your eye moves over the canvas. Like the road signs in Alice in Wonderland. It points in all directions.’
By the age of twelve, she was capable of drawing hyper-realistically, but she found that very boring. She is not interested in showing how well she can draw or paint, but in the emotional narrative, playfulness and the feeling of wonder in the image.
Like most artists, she doesn’t like to be asked why she became an artist, because she says it wasn’t a choice.
‘When did you discover you are an artist?’ is a better question.
She discovered she was an artist when she was bullied in school. The bullies said she was weird, but good at drawing. She was never good at communicating verbally in a group. Her way of communicating is through painting, drawing, writing and she’s deeply interested in stories.
‘I guess I had different interests than the other kids in school and that’s why they found me weird. They all said that I was good at drawing, and they often asked me to draw things for them. Although I was socially awkward, the fact that they respected me as an artist, made me feel that I deserved my place in the world and that I was allowed to exist. I knew I was good at drawing because my peers told me. Adults always tell children that their drawings are “beautiful”, but it is only when children tell each other that one truly knows, because peers are very honest with each other. And in my case, even the bullies told me. They said that, at least, there was one thing good about me, and that it was my talent and creativity.’
Frida’s Bathroom, one of her most recent paintings, refers to the conflict between Rothko and Warhol. Rothko thought that, with his colour field paintings, he was the end of art history. But then, all of a sudden, Warhol started painting Micky Mouse. This upset Rothko so much that he committed suicide. Frida’s Bathroom is Féline Minne’s response to both. There will never be an end to art history. Art history is a never- ending story.
Féline Minne is represented by Fine Art Consult, Brussels. She is a published author in her native language, Dutch. She has translated her debut novel, Medea and I, which was nominated for the Bronze Owl 2014 and the Debut Prize 2015 of boek.be. Medea and I is an autobiographical coming of age story about her childhood. She grew up with her hippie grandparents and partly in a commune while her mother was travelling the world as a model. Her second novel, The Art World and I, is a metafictional, existential story about a young artist, loosely based on her experiences in art school.