Folkert De Jong, born in 1972, is a Dutch sculptor with a focus on social criticism and a fondness for Styrofoam. His life-sized, grotesquely grinning figures – many painted in candy colours – depict scenes of war, corruption, and violence. Delightful examples include amputee clowns learning to shoot and pantalooned traders dancing on modern oil barrels.
De Jong also frequently draws from works in art history – see the oozing Styrofoam monkeys perched on oil barrels (his comment on the evolution of art) that recall Matisse’s “The Dance”. While he has switched largely from Styrofoam to polyurethane for durability, De Jong enjoys using cheap, disposable materials to deal with the timeless subjects of war and greed. If the combination of happy pastel colours and gory subject matter or contemporary and historical elements didn’t tip you off, De Jong is an artist who delights in shocking contrasts (“Evil can look really sweet,” he says). Words that frequently appear together in reviews of his exhibitions are “sugary” and “pus-like”.
Article by Monica Wang