Folkert de Jong is best known for his theatrical, narrative tableaux that address themes of war, greed and power. “When I watch the news or follow the world by the media,” de Jong stated in conversation with critic Steven Cox in 2013, “I can’t believe what I am hearing and seeing, it seems like a déjà vu, something is repeating itself.” A sense of tragedy and absurdity, a comically desperate psychological state, permeates his work, particularly through the sculptural material for which de Jong became known: industrial Styrofoam and Polyurethane insulation foams. Harsh and rough with heightened expressive power in material and theme, de Jong’s figures embody a grotesque horror and macabre humor reminiscent of the work of the 20th century European artists Georges Grosz and James Ensor. As critic Gregory Volk has remarked, de Jong’s sculptures “communicate a range of emotions, or really complex states of being; stalwart purpose, mania, fanaticism, humor, malevolence, sadness, delusion, introspection, and even tenderness occur simultaneously. You surmise, and the title certainly tips you off, that there is something sinister and dangerous about this goofy parade, but then again you can’t dismiss these figures as mere symbols; they are too psychologically complex, too close to the bone.”


De Jong began working in bronze in 2012, and made his formal full debut in the medium for the solo exhibition Amabilis Insania: The Pleasing Delusion at the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, in 2013-14. The addition of bronze to de Jong’s sculptural language represents an engagement with mortality, monumentality and world history that is more nuanced and less visceral than the use of modern synthetic compounds that defined the first 15 years of the artist’s practice.


Folkert de Jong (b. 1972, Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands) studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and the Rijksakademie for Visual Arts (Amsterdam). He was awarded the Prix de Rome for Sculpture in 2003 and was featured in The Busan Biennale (2016), The First Kiev International Biennale of Contemporary Art (Ukraine, 2013), the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (Scotland, 2012), The 17th Biennale of Sydney (Australia, 2010) and in Athens Biennial (Greece, 2007). de Jong has had numerous gallery solo exhibition in New York, Milan, Amsterdam, UK, Spain, Mexico City and more. Museum shows includes Hepworth Wakefield (2014, Wakefield, UK), Musée d’Evreux (2014, Evreux, France), Middelheim Museum (2013, Antwerp, Belgium), Un Vie d’Illusions, Musée d’art Contemporain (2013, Rocheouart, France), MUDAM Museum (2013, Luxembourg), Portland Art Museum (2013, Portland, Oregon), Groninger Museum (2009, Groningen, The Netherlands). Folkert de Jong is represented by Luis Adelantado Gallery, Valencia, Spain and Mexico City; Fons Welters Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Chez Valentin, Paris; DENK, LA, US; Louise Alexander, Sardinia, Italy; and MARC STRAUS, New York, US.

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