Folkert de Jong @ Rudolfinum

To be exhibited at Rudolfinum, one of the most prominent art spaces in Prague, is an honor and every artist clearly realizes that. To “earn” the right of a solo show, an artist must have a certain reputation in contemporary art world and be already rather well-known.

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That’s why when I started to work on this project there was no question whether to choose a one-man show or a group exhibition. Simply because I prefer to concentrate on the works of one artist (even sometimes one piece), then run through the series of artists, works, themes, styles and so on. But as the given gallery is rather big, exhibiting only one piece would be impossible and unreasonable waste of space. I immediately thought about someone already well-known and significant. Not long time ago I discovered for myself a very interesting contemporary artist from Netherlands, Folkert de Jong.

(His photo)

He works with large-scale sculptures and installations inspired by the aesthetics of horror, history of war and conflicts. His works are made of such materials as Styrofoam or Polyurethane and quite often reference the uncanny – something that is strangely familiar. As uncanny is something familiar but at the same time dissonant, it causes mixed feelings of attraction and rejection and, therefore, causes cognitive dissonance. Maybe that’s why de Jong’s works attract people and make them come to his shows. You can’t stay indifferent – you either like it, or hate it.

Gallery Rudolfinum provides five spacious rooms with very high ceilings, which allow us to set the exhibition on several levels. I would start with a small collection of life size sculptures from his that do not demand any pediments and can be installed right on the floor, so they can be on an eye-level of the viewer.

In the second room I would install a number (probably two) sculpture sets that are made on a bigger scale so the visitors would observe them from down below.

In the third room I would place large-scale sculptures, like on the attached pictures. So people can walk around them or even under them and “feel” their size and power.

In the forth room I would build the stairs that lead high to the observing platform right under the ceiling, which goes around the perimeter of the room. In the middle I would hang the artist’s sculptures as they were installed for his show “Actus Tragicus” at Mudam Luxembourg.

In the last dark room I would run a video with de Jong’s interviews or a documentary, or some sort of a slideshow.

As far as I know, Rudolfinum publishes rather detailed brochures about all its shows, so I would do it as well. What to write and what message to send to the audience, I would specifically discuss with an artist.

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