Folkert de Jong & Katharina GrosseThe Arts, Oct 22, 2011
Folkert de Jong is an Amsterdam based artist making intense figurative sculptures out of some of the most garish and untraditional materials, yet he uses them in the most informed, often painterly way that draws you into his nightmarish world.
His materials of choice are industrially produced Styrofoam and pigmented polyurethane foam- both very similar in nature, but one is stiff and carve-able, while the other starts out liquid and is cast-able.
With this basic combination de Jong is able to create an incredible variety of figures and objects drawn from an almost equally unlimited array of sources. There are a number of historical figures, horror movie protagonists, art history subjects, and other others that seem to emerge from dreams (or perhaps nightmares) that are combined in ongoing and malleable narrative settings.
One large work, a horse and rider resembling some sort of war monument, typically cast in bronze and majestic, but in this case emaciated and synthetic, was part of a 2003 installation titled Life’s Illusions and now belongs to the Montreal Fine Arts Museum permanent collection and can currently be seen in the contemporary galleries.
I am excited to have an upcoming trip to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCA). One of the highlights promises to be an immense work by Berlinbased artist Katharina Grosse that slides between painting, installation, and environment. Grosse installs various familiar and not so familiar objects and materials in the space and then proceeds to paint using a large sprayer. The layers of intense colour cover both the installed objects and the space of the architecture itself blending everything into one large work, providing multiple viewpoints and pathways, so at times the viewer is observing the work, while at others they have a sense of being inside it. On until October 31st, after which the work is dismantled and painted over.