Life-size sculpture groups made of Styrofoam and polyurethane foam form the core of the 25-year-old oeuvre of the now 50-year-old Folkert de Jong. It is a material normally used in construction, architecture and set design. Using these means, De Jong creates complex tableaux vivants of grotesque worlds, which take as their subject power, violence, disaster and the uncomfortable sides of the human condition. Intrigued by the caverns of the soul, the artist drags the viewer into his personal world, where the bizarre and the vulnerable converge.
In the cabinets and back rooms of Kunsthal KAdE, a wide selection from the entire oeuvre of Folkert de Jong will be shown in an "open display. Among these are several works that have never before been shown in the Netherlands. In the main hall of the art hall, a large scaffolding structure will be built, on which visitors will step from the top and then descend to the floor via various platforms. On these platforms - and between the scaffolding structure - will be works created especially for the exhibition. This is the first time that the main hall of Kunsthal KAdE will be used in this way.
Folkert de Jong often refers to (art) history in his work and combines it with contemporary social and political issues. Through the use of Styrofoam - which is alternately soft blue and soft pink - and PU foam - pale yellow - De Jong's sculptures have a very specific color character. Because the figures are usually life-size, not infrequently with the artist himself as model, the viewer can relate to them as a human being and be sucked into the scenes unfolding before his or her eye.
The exhibition "Ministry of Fear/Foam" will be accompanied by a book that summarizes De Jong's 25-year body of work by looking at the process of creation and context of the sculptures, with much material from the private archive. As an artist's book, it provides an insight into the artist's "head. The last oeuvre book dates from 13 years ago and appeared to accompany the retrospective exhibition 'Circle of Trust' at the Groninger Museum.
Folkert de Jong's exhibition will be on view from January 28 through May 7, 2023!