Folkert de Jong
Opening Thursday April 24th 2014
For the second solo show by the Dutch artist Folkert de Jong entitled Desengaño, De Jong shows us a preview, of his foray into ceramics and also some hybrid sculptures in carved wood and bas-reliefs.
Folkert de Jong is well known for his theatrical and sculptural recreations narratives that address issues like war, greed and power both historically and in the present. The word Desengañoin the context of history means disillusion, or a deep sense of transience, that is often being experienced, after the decline and collapse of empires. Knowing that eventually there is always a revival of art and literature after each collapse of a power system, de Jong sees as a positive starting point for his concept of this exhibition.
After re-reading Walter Benjamin's famous essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction from 1936, de Jong comes back to issues such as authenticity, reproduction, uniqueness, originality and the value of art. Benjamin identifies the "aura" of the work of art with the uniqueness, with the experience of the inimitable and analyzes how technical reproduction destroys that 'originality'. Benjamin says: "The loss of originality by the existence of multiple art reproductions makes art becomes an object whose value cannot be dimensioned in reference to its operation within tradition."
Folkert in a brilliant exercise equals that loss of values and deep current crisis which involves a moment of reflection and absorption but also of rebirth, to a restitution of the lost organicity, the matter, the gesture, the unique and unrepeatable mark of the artist.
Thus, the use of wooden board as a matrix in several of his works, as in the printing systems will be the base for leaving marks. Surfaces with incisions, drawings, graffiti ... susceptible to be reproduced as the basic essence of printmaking, will be displayed as art objects in themselves (the media as the result).
The ceramic sculptures and carved wood boards takes us back to the more traditional art forms and techniques. Rough and gritty as the materials from which they arise, the works by de Jong embody a grotesque horror and macabre humor that might remind us of the work of two European artists from the twentieth century, Georges Grosz and James Ensor.
The centerpiece of the exhibition that dominates the entrance of the gallery, is a replica of the coronation throne of the British royal family daubed graffiti.
The famous chair which is still used for the coronation of English kings, made by King Edward I around 1296 to hold the Stone of Destiny that was used from the ninth to the fourteenth century, at the crowning of all Scottish kings. With this work Folkert de Jong talks about the idea of fetish, of ritual, heritage value and ultimately the realization of the political power embodied in a work of art.
Another interesting contribution to the exhibition is a collaboration with his wife, the artist Delphine Courtillot. In this line of work that recovers the utopia of the avant-garde arts, a renewed search and positive feeling in the collaboration between different art and craft disciplines, together they have created, a series of twilight lamps made of ceramic and hand painted fabric.
Folkert de Jong has been awarded with important prizes as the Charlotte Köhler in 2002, the Prize Premio de Roma in 2003, the Reconocimiento Thiem Art in 2004 and the sculpture prize Den Haag "Orange Award" in 2005.
His work is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, the Saatchi Collection London, the Lever House Collection, the Dakis Joannou Collection, and of multiple private collections in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Spain, Italy, Swiss, Belgium and the Netherlands.
For more information or hi-res images, please contact the Gallery:
firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. +34 963 51 01 79