The Disappearance of Conrad M.
Rinus Van de Velde's Contemporary Fiction
The present work was part of a narrative exhibition by Rinus Van de Velde at Patrick Painter Inc. in 2012. The series consisted of large-scale figurative charcoal drawings and focused on an entirely fictionalized story about himself searching for a missing legendary musician, Conrad M., written about by Van de Velde's biographer, Leo Pratt. The drawings and their descriptive titles expertly blend the narrative and the figurative, presenting each work as both an object and an image. The exhibition began with an introduction by the fictional Leo Pratt and the full descriptive title of the present work reads as follows:
Rinus Van de Velde’s friend and biographer Leo Pratt on seeing one of Conrad M.’s musical performances, Paris, september 2011: When the noise peaked, he went completely berserk and jumped back first into the drum kit. After that, he started improvising something that mildly resembled a real song, which he sang softly and in a ghostly, detached way, as if he were some kind of medium, eyeballs rolled all the way up, a yellowish white marbled with a million veins. The lyrics, if I remember them correctly, went something like this: ‘Oh lord / oh my back hurts / the flesh is wea-eak / the flesh is weak / the flesh is wea-eak / So won’t you let me lie down / let me lie down / c’mon and let me lie down / down some more / I am tired and I am bored.’ And then he picked up his guitar and just continued making the most unforgiving noise I have ever heard.
With its immersive size and creative story, Van de Velde crafted a visually complex and multivalent work that blurs the lines between the real and the imaginary.