FOLKERT DE JONG “TOTÉMISME”
SOLO SHOW at LOUISE ALEXANDER GALLERY/ART LOS ANGELES 2018
JANUARY 25-28, 2018 | The Barker Hangar
For its first participation to Art Los Angeles, Louise Alexander Gallery is delighted to present “Totemism” a solo booth by Dutch artist Folkert de Jong,
De Jong is based in Amsterdam. He makes large-scale sculpture and installation and is best known for his theatrical, narrative tableaux that address themes of war, greed and power.
He will receive a solo exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson April 2018
“Totemism” is the conflict that emerges from history, as in the case of the Lincoln Totem pole at the Tlingit village Alaska in 1867. The question whether the totem pole was erected either as a shame pole to shame the former American president Abraham Lincoln for the end of slavery, or is it Lincoln being honored as a peacemaker? This story led De Jong to make the series of super sized sculptures. At this point they seem to refer to idols, tribal art and primitive sculptures, but in the same time they are representations of powerful leaders.
The exhibition Totemism consists of a group of statues made of Styrofoam and polyurethane foam as insulation material used for construction, architecture and scenography in the Hollywood film industry. This atypical art material derived from the petrochemical industry.
The politics of the materials for this project are essential to the perfection of the communicative process between the artwork and the public. The background and history of these chemicals has been designed in case of Styrofoam for military purposes during the Second World War, by, among other mega-companies such as Dow Chemicals and BASF, which amongst other things were also producers of weapons of mass destruction as Agent Orange and Ziklon-B.
The eye-appealing color of these insulation materials, often baby blue and pink, are the “natural” colors of these materials that have a high tactile value and give a seemingly saccharine association with gentleness and innocence.