Dutch painter Jacqueline de Jong attended the opening of her first major exhibition in the UK. The 82 year old Dutch artist arrived at MOSTYN
contemporary art gallery in Llandudno to unveil a major exhibition of her work in the stunning gallery space of Wales largest contemporary art gallery. Jacqueline de Jong: The Ultimate Kiss features over 80 paintings spanning a 50 year career where de Jong has continuously re-invented her painting style. Nicknamed The Art Rebel works of expressionism, Cubism pop art, photo realism and landscape paintings are in turns imbued with de Jongs trademark humour, eroticism and the grotesque. In parallel to her work as a painter, she was editor of The Situationist Times (1962-1967) and a member of the Situationist International during her early years in Paris in the 1960s.
MOSTYN presents the first UK institutional solo exhibition of Dutch artist Jacqueline de Jong, one of the crucial artistic figures from the post-war years of protest and revolt. The Ultimate Kiss opened on 9 October and runs until 6 February 2022.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition curator Juliette Desorgues said: I have been an admirer of Jacquelines work for many years. We met in 2017 and have been in dialogue ever since. The show has been organised in collaboration with the WIELS (a contemporary art space and museum in Brussels) and co-curated between myself, Devrim Bayar (Curator, WIELS) and Xander Karskens (Director, De Ateliers). It will also travel to the Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, Germany in 2022.
Jacquelines life and work are marked and influenced by some of the defining moments of the post-war avant garde: from her early involvement in the, Situationist International and the protest movements of May 68, to her experimentations with form and colour that were influenced by some of the key artistic genres of 20th century from Expressionism to Pop Art. These remain incredibly relevant to todays concerns.
Yet despite this, her work has been very much overlooked and has never been presented in a public gallery context in this way in the UK before. Much of her work is directly inspired by British artists such as Francis Bacon and R. B. Kitaj. It felt essential and timely to present her incredibly rich body of work to a UK audience today.
She has a unique way of exploring themes such as violence and eroticism with humour that is also tinted with darkness. Her work can be understood as an exploration and comment on the complexity of our human condition.
Born in the Netherlands in 1939, De Jong is a key figure of the European post-war avant- garde with a career spanning half a century. Her role in the Situationist International marked her early years in Paris in the 1960s, where she was actively involved in the student protests of May 1968. In parallel to her work as an editor and designer - most notably for The Situationist Times, which she founded and published from 1962 until 1967 - De Jong has developed a unique painterly practice. In its spontaneity, De Jong's expressive, often grotesque and excessive style follows the anti-academic and non- conformist aesthetic of the avant-garde.
Playfully moving between styles and painterly idioms throughout her career, the artist displays a voracious interest in the painted image as a site for confusion and subversion. She belongs to a group of artists who reintroduced narration by borrowing elements from popular culture, cinema, and illustrationall the while mixing the absurd with the mysterious. With a penchant for experimentation, De Jong plays with shape, style, and pictorial idioms in order to unfold an idiosyncratic and subversive body of work. Expressive yet realistic, her work exhibits uninhibited eroticism and sexual liberation.
The exhibition at MOSTYN is the first public presentation of De Jongs prolific and provocative oeuvre in the UK via a non-linear presentation where works from different periods dialogue with one another, following the Situationist concept of the dérive (drift).
The exhibition has been curated by Juliette Desorgues (Curator of Visual Arts, MOSTYN) in collaboration with Devrim Bayar (Curator, WIELS) and Xander Karskens (Director, De Ateliers). The exhibition will travel to Kunstmuseum Ravensburg in 2022, from 12 March until 19 June.
At the occasion of the exhibition, a new and important monograph has been published in collaboration with the Mercatorfonds. The publication is designed by Eurogroupe and includes essays by Devrim Bayar, Juliette Desorgues, Xander Karskens, Annabelle Ténèze and Niña Weijers, as well as a conversation between Jacqueline de Jong and Alison Gingeras.