De Jong Folkert - Untitled
White box, glass, 3 coloured guns in foam - 40 x 150 x 90 cm
Mutants, zombies, monsters, maniacs, skulls, guns, skeletons: Folkert de Jong's (Alkmaar, 1972) universe is dark, morbid and absurd. In the sculptures he makes, he refers to both history and sculptural tradition and to pop culture themes such as horror, comics and fantasy. In contrast to classic materials such as bronze and marble, De Jong works with everyday materials such as styrofoam and polyurethane foam. Materials that also determine De Jong's characteristic use of color: baby blue, the color of styrofoam, and dirty yellow, the color of polyurethane foam. During his residency at the Rijksakademie of visual arts in Amsterdam, De Jong becomes fascinated by “people who are totally out of their minds”. He is mesmerized by the work of Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley and watches movies about psychopaths a lot: "I thought about how a person could go so far in his fantasies that reality and fiction overlap." Initially, De Jong creates what you might call "environments": arrangements of sculptures that form a world that you can wander through as a visitor. An example of this is The Ilemauzer (2000) - the title is derived from a character from a seventeenth-century story about witch hunting - a project realized in the Vleeshal in Middelburg. In 2001 De Jong shows The Iceman Cometh at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA). From that moment on, he focuses more on the classical sculptural approach, in which you are more a spectator of the work, instead of entering it and being part of it. De Jong wants to seduce and confront his audience; in addition to the grim and dark character of his work, it also contains a lot of humor and satire. They are bizarre, adventurous groups of images in which he is a director and plays on the feelings of his audience. De Jong studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (1994-1996) and at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (1998-2000), both in Amsterdam. In 2003 he won the Prix de Rome. Work by De Jong has been shown in Peres Projects (Los Angeles), Upstream Gallery (Amsterdam), Galerie Fons Welters (Amsterdam), the Vleeshal (Middelburg) and SMBA (Amsterdam).