artist / participant
Folkert de Jong (b. 1972) lives and works in Amsterdam. Over the last 15 years he has gained a reputation for his dramatic sets of sculptures that combine grotesque and monumental features. The polystyrene foam figures tinted with bright colors are assembled in scenes that, despite references to historical sculptures, remain difficult to situate with their mutated and anarchic punk forms. Misappropriating industrial polyurethane and polystyrene foam plastic, Folkert de Jong manages to express a whole gamut of human emotions in work that is varied yet never entirely what it seems to be. However ephemeral and frothy his sculptures appear, the plastic he uses is tragically neither biodegradable nor recyclable but, paradoxically, far more permanent than traditional bronze.
For Rochechouart Museum's exhibition Folkert de Jong. Une vie d'illusions / A Life of Illusions, the artist has reconstructed scenes from four previous figurative sculptural ensembles and drawings made since 2003. Spectators are confronted head-on with life-sized figures whose semi-realistic arrangements are constantly undermined by violent colors and quasi-grotesque expressions on the borderline of being inhuman. The result is strangely compelling and disturbing, like a fairground distorting mirror reflecting the world around us. Inspired by Picasso's Saltimbanques, which he reinterpreted in 2007, the street entertainer's laughter is tinged with sadness and the whole carnival atmosphere oscillates between joy and tears, comedy and tragedy—life and life's accomplishments being nothing but an illusion.
Folkert de Jong's work has been shown in many places around the world over the last few years including a major retrospective at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands, 2009) and a one-man show in the Mackintosh Museum at Glasgow's School of Art (Scotland, 2012). In France, he participated in the Lille 3000 Fantastic 2012 exhibition last winter and in 2013, some of his works have be seen at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon, USA (5 January–23 June, 2013) and some are currently shown at the Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM) in Luxembourg (Actus Tragicus, 23 March 2012–8 September 2013).
Folkert de Jong
A Life of Illusions
Folkert de Jong