Folkert de Jong, “FEMEN LA” (2017)
Folkert de Jong, “Shirley” (2017)
Folkert de Jong will display some of his works with Marc Straus Gallery‘s booth at the third edition of UNTITLED Art Fair San Francisco. The art fair will take place from January 18th until 20th at Pier 35.
Folkert de Jong is best known for his theatrical, narrative tableaux that address themes of war, greed and power. “When I watch the news or follow the world by the media,” de Jong stated in conversation with critic Steven Cox in 2013, “I can’t believe what I am hearing and seeing, it seems like a déjà vu, something is repeating itself.” A sense of tragedy and absurdity, a comically desperate psychological state, permeates his work, particularly through the sculptural material for which de Jong became known: industrial Styrofoam and Polyurethane insulation foams. Harsh and rough with heightened expressive power in material and theme, de Jong’s figures embody a grotesque horror and macabre humor reminiscent of the work of the 20th century European artists Georges Grosz and James Ensor.
As critic Gregory Volk has remarked, de Jong’s sculptures “communicate a range of emotions, or really complex states of being; stalwart purpose, mania, fanaticism, humor, malevolence, sadness, delusion, introspection, and even tenderness occur simultaneously. You surmise, and the title certainly tips you off, that there is something sinister and dangerous about this goofy parade, but then again you can’t dismiss these figures as mere symbols; they are too psychologically complex, too close to the bone.”
De Jong began working in bronze in 2012, and made his formal full debut in the medium for the solo exhibition Amabilis Insania: The Pleasing Delusion at the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, in 2013-14. The addition of bronze to de Jong’s sculptural language represents an engagement with mortality, monumentality and world history that is more nuanced and less visceral than the use of modern synthetic compounds that defined the first 15 years of the artist’s practice.
Over the past few years, the Bay Area has secured its position as a cultural destination and has garnered increasing interest in its market. Collectors, advisors, and curators from the San Francisco area have developed a growing enthusiasm for exposure to more emerging and mid-career artwork. As Untitled Art, San Francisco embarks on its third edition, it has recognized the importance of introducing a dynamic international roster of galleries to the growing market of the Bay Area and will continue to present a selection of both established and emerging galleries from around the world.
Untitled, Art is an international, curated art fair founded in 2012 that focuses on balance and integrity across all disciplines of contemporary art. Untitled, Art innovates the standard fair model by selecting a curatorial team to identify, and curate a selection of galleries, artist-run exhibition spaces, and non-profit institutions and organizations, in discussion with a site-specific, architecturally designed venue.