Folkert de Jong

Groninger Museum

Since 2001, Folkert de Jong has been working with Styrofoam and polyurethane foam, the now common insulation materials produced by Dow Chemical—whose laboratories also, of course, produced napalm and dioxin. This dubious backdrop, together with the materials’ hazards to health and environment, contrasts deeply with the institution’s characteristically innocent blue or pink coloring. Although lightweight and even vulnerable, these foams will probably outlast bronze and marble. De Jong deliberately engages such contradictions. Confronting the materials’ positive poles (friendly colors, lightness) with dark and complex social, historical, and political subject matter, the artist creates life-size tableaux in which figures derived from comics, horror movies, art, and history often converge in sinister ways.

For his first substantial museum show, “Circle of Trust: Selected Works, 2001–2009,” a

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