With Beginnings, Folkert de Jong (1972, NL) opens a new chapter in his artistic practice. In this third solo exhibition at Galerie Fons Welters, which revolves around the transformation of mankind in society, he presents a series of sculptures installed around a large pyramid.
Use of materials has always played an important role in De Jong's practice. He is known for his styrofoam and polyurethane sculptures, which form a unique, grotesque world in which De Jong analyzes the human condition through art-historical and political references.
In recent years, De Jong has seen sees a turn in Zeitgeist and, by using among other things his own body as a model, examines his connection with society as an artist. This substantive issue is given a new impulse in Beginnings by a changing visual language with previously unused materials, resulting in a wider vocabulary to communicate with.
Pivotal in Beginnings is the pyramid of fluorescent acrylic glass, surrounded by six sculptures consisting of materials such as braided rope and electricity wire, epoxy resin and broken acrylic glass. For the exhibition, De Jong was inspired by various philosophies that focus on the idea of liberation from social standards and values, such as the hippie movement from the 60s and the motor club Hells Angels. The pyramid depicts the suggestion to rise above the negativity of our time through art, with the motorcyclist as a symbol of freedom. The cocoon figures that hang around the mystical pyramid transform the gallery space into a ritual place to defuse the Zeitgeist. For example, on one of the sculptures De Jong shows videos with footage of Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, issues he takes as an example for the undigested pessimism that will continue into the future. The sculptures are sacrifices for initiating a transformation into a new era.
With Beginnings, De Jong encourages us to think about the possibilities of moving from a negative now into a new, positive future. With this exhibition, De Jong's practice evolves as an expression of its content: with a new visual language, he investigates how we could transform ourselves in this society and evolve into people of the future.
Folkert de Jong (1972, Egmond aan Zee, NL) studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Last Nation’, MOCA, Tucson, US; ‘Weird Science’, GEM, The Hague, NL; ‘Hominid Lands’, Musee d'Evreux, FR; 'The Holy Land’, Hepworth Wakefield, UK; ‘Amabilis insania. The pleasing delusion’, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, BE. Furthermore his work recently featured in: ‘Freedom – the fifty key Dutch artworks since 1968’, De Fundatie, Zwolle, NL; ‘Trouble in Paradise – Collection Rattan Chadha’, Kunsthal, Rotterdam, NL; ‘Busan Biennial, KP; Sonsbeek, Arnhem, NL; ‘The Anatomy Lesson’, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, NL; ‘The shape of things to come: new sculpture’, Saatchi Gallery London, UK;.
His work is part of the collections of LACMA, Los Angeles; Museum Dhondt Dhaenens, Deurle; MOCA, Los Angeles; Muséé des Beaux Arts de Montreal; Lever House Art Collection, NY; Margulies Art Collection, Miami; Gemeentemuseum The Hague; HudsonValley Center for Contemporary Art, NY; Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens; Groninger Museum, Groningen; Saatchi Collection, London; Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, NY.