Folkert De Jong, the Amsterdam-based artist, is known for his large scale installations and sculptures that attempt to mimic real-life scenes between people. His sculptures, made out of polyurethane and styrofoam, mimic real life while also giving it a sinister, macabre slant. de Jong’s pieces deal with the horrific and disturbing aspects of humanity, drawing from war, history, and politics. This year de Jong has five major international exhibitions starting in Glasgow and ending in Belgium.
In Glasgow, at the Mackintosh Museum, de Jong has installed two brand new figurative sculptures entitled “The Immortals,” which was inspired by artists, and Glasgow celebrities, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret. De Jong transforms the couple in his piece into actors in an attempt to explore the “theatricality” of the museum. The titled “The Immortals” refers to the nickname the couple gave to their group of luminary friends, which included Herbert McNair and Margaret’s sister, Frances.
Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow, Scotland, April 20-May 7
At this year’s Beaufort04 exhibition in Belgium, de Jong will have his piece Monument for a Saltimbanque on exhibit, which is meant to reinterpret the use and connotation of bronze as a sculpture material in traditional art. The sculpture portrays the artist as a court jester, or actor, forced to speak the harsh truths that others dare not say. This is a common theme in de Jong’s work, he is continually fascinated by the artist’s ability to access and perceive so many of the layers of humanity, and make constructive, critical comments that help illuminate issues for others.
Triennial Beaufort04, Wenduine, Belgium, March 31- September 30
Later this May, at the first ever Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art, de Jong will present his sculptures relating to the theme of the Biennale this year, A Tale of Two Cities (1859). The inspiration for the exhibition comes from the extremely famous first lines of Charles Dickens’ novel that examines the French Revolution. The show looks to the present, specifically contemporary art, to examine how artists use their work and aesthetic utilizes the past to express the future.
Arsenale 2012, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 24 – July 31
In August, costumes and props designed by de Jong will be presented on stage in London at the performance of Troilus and Cressida, a play by Shakespeare, put on in collaboration between New York’s Wooster Group and The Royal Shakespeare Company. The play’s premiere this summer will coincide with the World Shakespeare Festival.
Troilus and Cressida, London, England, August 3-August 18
Finally, de Jong will participate in a group show called Changing States of Matter at the Brand New Gallery in Milan at the end of May. The exhibition will feature de Jong’s work side by side with other up and coming, young artists in the contemporary art world, including Bianca Beck, Ryan Forester, Lynda Benglis, Steve Bishop and many more.
Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy, May 31 – July 28
Emily Kirkpatrick for The Untitled Magazine