US-born filmmaker and artist Madsen Minax crafts his short films and videos in various breaths—ever so often personal, experimental and transgressive ones. Within these breaths, Minax approaches and investigates queerness, trans identity and sexuality, mysticism and death, family bonds and social justice, in a many-layered approach to image-making. Spanning almost a decade of his body of work, and intended to be viewed chronologically, BFMAF presents the first Madsen Minax retrospective outside of the USA.
The timing of this presentation of Minax’s work is of special importance: a decade has passed since the release of his first feature documentary, Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance (2010), and as we head our pointers to a selection of his video work so far, Minax is on the brink of the completion of a second feature documentary which promises to be of particular robustness and present a renewed conceptual and formal step in his practice, one already possible to foresee via his latest short, At the River (2020). If 2021 doesn’t present itself as dystopian as 2020, we will see the release of a sophomore title, North By Current, a portrait of his family against the backdrop of rural Michigan.
In keeping with an artistic practice that is thematically close to home, Minax has listed “landscape, place, love, intimacy, sex, kinship, spirituality” among others as grand interests to point his camera and intellect at. The fact that one might be aware in advance of the grand topics of his work as well as knowing that they’re deeply personal—to the point of including himself in front of the camera—doesn’t prevent an ever-satisfying Pandora-box effect of taking place in the process of discovering it: one can never quite guess what one’s going to be exposed to, but it often is served with a fair amount of inventiveness and audacity, and there’s always something more to delve into and/or rediscover at a second, third reprise of it. For the sake of providing some cardinal points, though, the viewer who digs the great work of Jennifer Reeder, A.K. Burns, Dani & Sheilah ReStack and Ester Martin Bergsmark will probably also appreciate Minax’s work.
Additional to being a multidisciplinary artist via music, instalments, photography and even sculpture, Minax’s video work relentlessly explores and experiments with narrative and style. Watching his videos and short films is to come in contact with truly free, moving, tender, tabu-freed and image-bending pieces. One can say he’s a sort of alchemist of images. Luckily for us, it’s not just with images that Minax is talented with. He truly has something to say every time he crafts a film. —Ana David
by Steve Reinke
Live Event — 8 October 2020, 20:00
Filmmaker in focus, Angelo Madsen Minax will be in conversation with filmmaker and writer Steve Reinke, filmmaker Jennifer Reeder and BFMAF Associate Programmer Ana David discussing his practice and seven films as part of this year’s festival.→
It is the 4th of July in rural middle America and the water levels are rising. The filmmaker’s religious family stage a half-hearted intervention with their adult child.
A death and destruction-obsessed transsexual searches for human connection in the humid Southern underground worlds of internet hook-ups and storm tunnels.
A voice guides us through a near-death experience. She begins by describing the experience as a sensation of viewing, similar to watching a movie. Found footage and animated skyscapes create a cosmology of connections. On-screen text is sourced from “The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps”, a 1998 book by Marshall T. Savage.
A mystical voice contemplates mythology, science fiction, sexuality and death as a series of holes: through which to travel, through which to perceive, through which to accept, through which to speak.
After a road trip to the ocean a figure communes with stray dogs to build seaside graveyard—petite and monumental sand mountains. She nourishes the sand graves with fresh breast milk.
From vast, mystical, and historically charged landscapes, My Most Handsome Monster documents two separate BDSM scenarios as they unfold between queer sex workers and their play partners.
Originally created for installation viewing, No Show Girls documents an encounter between the artist and his friend, who performs a strip tease in silence adhering to specific instructions.