press release

Chisenhale Gallery is pleased to present a new commission by Dutch artist Folkert De Jong.

Medusa’s First Move: The Council – De Jong’s first solo exhibition in the UK – is an installation of life-size figurative sculptures, constructed in blue Styrofoam and polyurethane foam. Gathered around a table, the various characters are absorbed in what may be a séance or a decadent soirée while the gallery space around them is littered with Styrofoam objects, including broken tables, guns and skulls.

De Jong is fascinated with the moment when people cross the line of morally acceptable behaviour. As a starting point for his work, De Jong immerses himself in the thoughts and motives of obsessive characters: witch hunters, religious zealots, political fanatics, militarists, mediums or serial killers. He investigates and reconstructs their use of symbols and rituals as they attempt to master supernatural or unconscious forces.

De Jong’s work uses both humour and horror in a manner reminiscent of paintings by George Grosz, Otto Dix and James Ensor. In the same tradition, De Jong’s theatrical scenes explore the boundaries separating security from chaos, play from violence and pleasure from cruelty.

Folkert De Jong was born in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, in 1972. He attended the Academy for Visual Arts and the Rijksacademy for Visual Arts, Amsterdam, and has held residencies in New York, the Netherlands, Norway, France and India. In 2003 De Jong was a finalist for the Prix de Rome. Recent solo exhibitions include: Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam (2004); Meet me and Mister Beefy, The Netherlands Foundation for Fine Arts, Design and Architecture, Amsterdam (2003); Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2001); De Vleeshal, Middelburg (2000). Recent group exhibitions include: Peres Projects, Los Angeles (2005); Roberts & Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles (2005); Interim Art, London (2004).


Folkert de Jong
Medussa's First Move: The Council