Folkert de Jong
一如既往 Thousand Years Business As Usual
November 14, 2008 - January 17, 2009
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James Cohan 画廊邀请了荷兰装置艺术家Folkert de Jong为我们在2008年7月成立的上海新空间举办个展。Folkert de Jong以戏剧性的叙事为基础的装置艺术著名。实体大小的雕塑作品以舞台上表演人物的形式展现出来。引用战争,人类野心和权力为作品的主题。这些诱发人们思维地作品以选择非传统的材料使人震惊。雕塑材料包括工业用的泡沫聚苯乙烯和聚亚安酉旨两种绝缘泡沫材料。De Jong的作品同时体现了淘气可笑,诡异幽默,就好像是20世纪欧洲艺术家Georges Grosz和James Ensor,他们当时的作品风格。

这组名为一如既往的装置作品包括了三部分表演人物的静态画面。此次展览概念化的基础与达尔文"适者生存"的理论紧密相连。De Jong的作品应用了达尔文从超越自然,而后进入探索全球竞争的优化理论。Folkert de Jong使用这一科学理论和他丰富的想象力,试图阐述国家民族间微妙的权利平衡与自然环境有着相似的规律这一概念。借助一如既往这件作品,Folkert de Jong观察到许多人们试图要控制而最终却无法控制而产生的一些自相矛盾的事实。这些观念给予了De Jong独一无二的作品充分的创作发展空间。

其中,主要的装置作品早年生涯借鉴了法国艺术家马蒂斯的油画The Dance,作品展现了七只具有人性化的猴子跳舞的那一霎那的画面。对于艺术家来讲,圆圈代表永远重复循环的生活并随着生命的延续渐渐的转变,正如达尔文所描述的一样。借鉴马蒂斯的油画,De Jong 采用了现代艺术历史中最有名的一张,这张作品表达了进步的理念,这个理念既可以被理解为从猿人进化为人类的一个进步的过程,也可以理解为是现在社会中人类创新所带来的进步。艺术家采用猴子作为主要人物表达了两种象征意义,其一,猴子在中国的十二生肖当中是最多才多艺,其二,在整个人类历史发展过程中他扮演了一个非常重要的角色。

Business as Usual—The Tower 三只猴子,一个叠着另一个嘴里念叨着"非礼勿视,非礼勿听,非礼勿说"De Jong利用油桶作为三只猴子的底座表达了石油在全球经济中所扮演的角色以及对世界领导权的影响。De Jong 采用绝缘泡沫(本身就是石油的产物)作为媒介,强调了不可降解产品对环境产生的永久性的危害。通过这件多层次复杂的作品,参观者不禁想到,De Jong是不是想通过这种方式来说明只有"适者"在这个新的政治领域中是最有创新创造力的呢?"business as usual"是不是De Jong向我们提出世界上的艺术家将是带领我们开辟新道路的人呢?

Folkert de Jong出生于1972年,现住在阿姆斯特丹。De Jong曾在阿姆斯特丹学习视觉艺术,2003年还获得了装置类的罗马最高奖。在其他欧洲地区,他曾在瑞士温特图尔Kunsthalle Winterthur,英国伦敦的Chisenhale Gallery展出。还曾在纽约Lever House举办过一个名为Gott Mit Uns上帝与我同在 的重要装置展。De Jong也参加了2007年雅典双年展,最近还在纽约James Cohan 画廊和休斯顿Valley Center for Contemporary Art举办了两个展览。2009年春天De Jong的作品还将在英国伦敦的Saatchi画廊举办一个名为Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture的展览。

James Cohan Gallery has invited Dutch sculptor Folkert de Jong to create an exhibition for its new Shanghai location, which opened July 10, 2008. Folkert de Jong is best known for his theatrical, narrative-based installations. His life-sized sculptures presented in tableau-like arrangements, take on the themes of war, greed and power. These provocative sculptures are surprising for their unorthodox choice of materials—sculpted out of industrial Styrofoam and Polyurethane insulation foams. De Jong's figures embody a grotesque horror and macabre humor that is reminiscent of the work of the 20th century European artists Georges Grosz and James Ensor.

This new body of work entitled Thousand Years Business as Usual consists of three new sculptural tableaux. The conceptual underpinnings of the exhibition relate to Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest." De Jong's work applies Darwin's evolutionary theory beyond the natural world and into an exploration of the competition between global entities. Using this scientific theory and his startling imagery, Folkert de Jong attempts to illuminate the notion that the delicate balance of power between nations can evolve into a pattern similar to that of the natural environment. In Thousand Years Business as Usual, Folkert de Jong examines the many paradoxes inherent in what humans attempt to control and what is ultimately not in their power to control. These concepts provide fertile territory for De Jong's singular brand of expression.

The main sculptural installation Early Years consists of seven anthropomorphized monkeys in a circle frozen in the midst of a joyful dance based upon the Matisse painting The Dance (c. 1901.) For the artist, the circular formation of the group represents the ever-repeating cycle of life and the gradual mutation that takes place along life's continuum as described by Darwin. By referencing the Matisse painting, De Jong uses one of the most well-known images in the history of Modern Art to represent the concept of progress, which can be understood as both the progress of the species from ape to man and the progress fueled by man's innovation in the modern age. The artist's use of the monkey as main character acknowledges both its symbolism— in the Chinese Zodiac the monkey is the most versatile and creative of astrological creatures—as well as its important role in evolutionary theory.

Business as Usual—The Tower presents three monkeys, one on top of the other miming the cautionary saying, "See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil." De Jong's depiction of the oil barrel as a base for the trio references the complex role that oil plays in the global economy and its influence in world hegemony. The insulation foam that De Jong employs as his medium, itself a petroleum product, highlights further issues relating to the lasting negative impact that non-biodegradable products have on the environment. Sifting through the many layers in this complex body of work, the viewer may be inclined to wonder... Is this De Jong's way of suggesting that the "fittest" in the new geopolitical terrain will be the ones who are the most innovative and creative? As he questions "business as usual," is De Jong offering that the artists of the world will be the ones to lead us to a new way?

Folkert de Jong, born in 1972, lives and works in Amsterdam. De Jong studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and the Rijksacademy for Visual Arts, both in Amsterdam, and was awarded the Prix de Rome for Sculpture in 2003. Among other European venues, he has had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Winterthur (Winterthur, Switzerland), the Chisenhale Gallery (London, England) and mounted a major sculptural installation, Gott Mit Uns (God With Us), at the Lever House in New York City. De Jong participated in the 2007 Athens Biennial, and recently had two exhibitions in the New York City region at the James Cohan Gallery and at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. exhibitions, De Jong's work will be presented at the Saatchi Gallery (London, England) in a new exhibition entitled Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture in spring 2009.

This exhibition has been realized by the generous financial support of the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in China.

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