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 sculptures of styrofoam and polyurethane 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 sees a turn in Zeitgeist and, by using his own body as a model, among other things, 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 within his work.
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 norms 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 he shows videos with footage of murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, issues he takes as an example for the undigested pessimism that continues into the future. The sculptures are sacrifices for initiating a transformation into a new era.
With Beginnings, De Jong encourages thinking 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’, 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 held in the collections of LACMA, Los Angeles; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; 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.