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Dutch sculptor Folkert de Jong joins Marc Straus
Folkert de Jong, Dust, 2004. Styrofoam, polyurethane foam, silicone rubber, 67 x 39.4 x 39.4 inches (170 x 100 x 100 cm). Photograph: Aatjan Renders.

by Marc Straus

NEW YORK, NY.- We are pleased to announce our representation of renowned Dutch sculptor Folkert de Jong, with a solo exhibition of new work scheduled for February 2019.

Folkert de Jong (b. 1972, The Netherlands) is widely recognized for his narrative-based figurative sculptures that address power dynamics, war, dislocation and greed. His use of industrial Styrofoam and Polyurethane insulation foams is now widely recognizable — subsequently his work has incorporated bronze, Plexiglas, and internal lighting. de Jong’s figures often appear as part of tableaus: harlequins stacked atop each other’s shoulders; a troop of monkeys glaring menacingly. His works have such expressive range, vacillating between humor and the macabre.

In 2005 Livia and I were curating a museum show of new figurative sculpture where I came across a work of Folkert’s. In “Dust”, made of commercial pink and blue Styrofoam, a young man sits on a chair atop large gasoline tanks. Eyes closed, leaning back, arms spread-eagle, there is a sense of unremitting exhaustion. Propped against the tanks are two machine guns. We find ourselves amid a taut narrative. Is he a soldier replaying the horrors witnessed at the front?

Encountering “Dust”, was one of those rare and necessary moments that makes the life-long journey with contemporary art so necessary. Our collection began with Minimalism. Things evolve. Artists teach us. At the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, which Livia and I founded in Peekskill, NY, Folkert generously created a permanent monumental work of art, “Mount Maslow”, a two-story high mountain of white Styrofoam on which are two climbers. It speaks of the human quest for progress and the precariousness of its downfall through greed and war.

With Folkert we found work of such power and emotional depth. I opened our gallery seven years ago and thirteen years after “Dust.” Now I have the joy of welcoming Folkert to the gallery. He was, and remains, a singular voice that takes us to new and unexpected places.

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