Folkert de Jong's body of work consists of themes dealing with war, greed, power and tragedy. In these four large-scale bronze works, recognizable objects begin to emerge through the colorful patinas and unrefined surface treatments. Armor, machine guns, a severed head and a pointed camera-with-telescope-attachment all seem to coexist in an almost story-tale metaphor for aggressive absurdity. These statuesque, raw, and malevolently evocative sculptures react in conversation with one another, existing in the same stylistic plane on the landscape.
The placement of these works outdoors in the park provides an intriguing alternative to viewing these works in the white walls of a gallery. The surrounding space of green (in the winter - snow), activates these works and adds to the anachronistic manner in which they appear to stand like soldiers or sentient, fantastical beings.
For de Jong, the sculptural technique used in fabricating these works is essential to his conceptual process. Rough edges of bronze "flashing" and pour channels, evidence left from the molten bronze casting process, remain intentionally untouched by the artist. These bold linear forms, combined with the subtle yet comprehensive surface treatment, provide the works with a tactility that allows the viewer to explore the process that occurs between the artist and his medium. These aspects in Old DNA for example, (cast from a 3D-scanned suit of armor belonging to Henry VIII) evoke an external system of tubes, wires, or channels that appear to emerge from the suit.
Folkert de Jong was born in Egmond ann Zee, the Netherlands and lives and works in Amsterdam. He was awarded the Prix de Rome for Sculpture in 2003 and was featured in The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: The First Kiev International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Ukraine, 2013, The 17th Biennale of Sydney: The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, Australia, 2010 and in Destroy Athens, Athens Biennial, Greece, 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include: 2013, Amabilis Insania: The Pleasing Delusion, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium, Un Vie d'Illusions, Musée d'art Contemporain, Rocheouart, France, Actus Tragicus, MUDAM Museum, Luxembourg, Folkert de Jong, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; 2012, Vitrine de la Maison du Peuple, Clichy, France; 2011, Operation Harmony, James Cohan Gallery, New York; 2009, Mount Maslow, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York, The Shooting, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, Circle of Trust: Selected Works 2001-2009, Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands, One Thousand Years of Business as Usual, James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai. De Jong attended the Rijksacademie for Visual Arts from 1998-2000, and the Academy for Visual Arts from 1994-96, both located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Works and images courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.