Folkert de Jong

Folkert de Jong Interview - By Steven Cox

Folkert de Jong and I sit facing each other from across a table strewn with drawings, plans, maquettes, books, beers, coffees, snacks, camera equipment and a laptop.  I visually explore the land of De Jong’s studio like a tourist within a new city.  Of which I was, I had just flown into Amsterdam from Edinburgh to meet with him.

Looking around De Jong’s studio, there are sculptures, large and small plinths, papers, sketches, spray cans, several desks, traditional tools, busts and hundreds of books and magazines.  What I am describing is only one half of the studio.  The other half is where De Jong’s mystical world is formed.  Containers of polyurethane, silicone moulds, colourful chunks of polystyrene and Styrofoam are some of the visible materials that carpet every available inch of floor space.  I walk carefully through a field of small miniature buckets filled with solidified polyurethane, cast’s of legs, arms, heads, car tires, hats, knives, guns and fruit.  There is no space for my feet, though I am told not to worry about standing on anything, for if something rips or breaks, the resulting imperfection would only add to the object’s future character.  

It is at this point I realize that I am standing fully immersed within the heart of Folkert de Jong’s dark and mystical world.  All of the materials that surround me are the remnants of fictionalized object’s that are in the process of becoming immortalized, transformed into bronze for de Jong's upcoming exhibition Amabilis Insania: The Pleasing Delusion, opening at The Middelheim Museum in Antwerp on the 26th October - 6 April 2014.

Steven Cox: The grotesque is closely associated with the distorted, fantastical or strange.  Descriptively, these terms closely define the aesthetic that is representational of your practice.  For many works of yours, you explore the darker side of the human form, portraying your characters as partially mutilated, bearing vivid scars and the skin worn as if inside out.  Such deformities are foul, uneasy on the eye and psychologically testing. 

Though, within Amabilis Insania: The Pleasing Delusion, the viewer is confronted with bronze sculptures that are materialistically more traditional and visually quieter.  I am curious; to what extent have you consciously departed from your more renowned aesthetic?

Folkert de Jong: I have the feeling that it came from a necessity or something, not for a moment did I think I am going to change something, it was more of a change within my life.  When I made these works, (and I still make the Styrofoam works for a particular context) I always try to adapt myself to the environment, and the question is, what happened for myself to suddenly change that kind of attitude.  But I really think that a lot has changed within my life over the past year, also a lot in the world has changed.

When I watch the news or follow the world by the media, I don’t believe it anymore, it seems like a Deja’vu, something is repeating itself.  So before I was more so responding to more aggressively in a way by making my works more expressive and grotesque, because I have a feeling that it was necessary and appropriate within that moment in time.  Also, I noticed that the response by the audience in regards to these works was right.  So, it was the right input to also get the right response for me, so it was about communication, and what was necessary and efficient to do it that way while now everything is about quietness, and also people have had enough of perversion, for we know what perversion leads to.  It’s like we know decadence leads to perversion, it leads to extermination of your self.  But I have the feeling for a necessity for some quietness, and I find other movements within art history more appropriate and to reconsider bringing them back, like surrealism and the work of Man Ray.

My first visit to the Kemner bronze foundry in 2011 was a very important moment to start working with bronze. What I saw there was shocking me and bringing me to a state of total excitement to work with bronze. The process of molding, casting, the amount of craftsmanship, and the mutual interest shared between myself and the 3 Kemner brothers to begin working together offered many unexpected possibilities. There are numerous moments that you can actually influence the outcome of the artwork. The material offers many opportunities for me to redefine and question the value, meaning and tradition with it, especially when you transform a polyurethane foam model into bronze, whilst simultaneously retaining and turning all of the foamy/plastic textures into bronze. 

The effects of natural corrosion on bronze and the artificial coloring with acids, called patina, caught my interest. I learned to apply patina on the surface of the bronze with a paintbrush and a spray can.  Slowly, I developed a coloring that suited my ideas.  An important inspiration for me is colored theatre spotlights shining on the actors on a theatre stage. For the Middelheim Museum exhibition I have been using fantastic pictures that show the refraction of light through a stained glass window of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.  The colors that I sprayed on like graffiti are in fact classical bronze patina based acids that you burn onto the skin of the bronze at the foundry.

SCThe Middelheim Museum is very much the opposite of a conventional white cube environment, for it is outdoor and accessible to a larger, more diverse public audience.  By understanding the environment and connected history of the Middelheim Museum, how greatly did this influence your decision making within the preliminary stages of preparing for this exhibition? 

FDJ: Being specific, the Middelheim Museum is much more complex because the context is very different than an institutional indoor space.  It is an outdoor space.  It is called a Museum, but it is in fact an outdoor sculpture park.  I think if you peel off the different layers of this, you cannot go more neutral than the fact that it is a constructed environment where the viewing of art is meant to be done in a certain manner.  The viewer is directed in a traditional way that is perhaps not very contemporary.  I found this a complexity, but also an interesting context. 

Imagine the idea, they designed the park as it is now, but a long time ago, for the purpose of looking at sculptures, but now it is still very much the same design.  You can say that the world has dramatically changed around the perimeter of the park, but inside, it is still the same!  What must be explored is to what extent the visitor of the sculpture garden is being influenced by values and traditions of the past? 

SC: So you are consciously attaching your work to this context by using bronze, which is renowned as being a more traditional sculptural material?

FDJ: Well, I know that the Middelheim Museum invites artists to question this, but also to break this, and to make the contrast!  Fighting constantly against the fact that it is a traditional park, the visitors are essentially made up of those who want to escape the city and to use the space as one.  It is open to the public and is free to enter. You can specifically go there for a family picnic, leisurely jog, or to walk a pet dog. I find this an interesting context for the viewer to experience sculpture, especially when considering that the viewer is simultaneously immersed within a pre-determined environment that was designed to confront the viewer with art, beauty and values of the 19th century.  I think this is therefore an entirely different way for a viewer to experience art compared to going to a white cube like museum.  What I find very interesting is that the viewer is fully unaware of this; though subconsciously take it for granted.

It is in fact very pleasant to walk within the park, it comforts people, and I find this discussable as to whether or not this is a good mode for people to look at art?  People go there because they want to escape the city and seek comfort.  Though, I take the position of wanting to surprise the viewer whilst they are within this comfort zone!  It is easier to make a provocation whilst the viewer is within such an artificially beautiful, calming landscape, than in comparison to when the viewer is more dynamic and conscious of their surroundings.

SC: So it is more of an experiment to provoke a reaction in an environment where the viewer is not expecting to be provoked?

FDJ: I take it as some sort of psychological state, where the viewer is within a certain state, so what sort of work do I need to make to get the right response or impact?  It is as if it’s a psychological study.

SC: I am interested to know if you think there is a correct response, or perhaps if there is a type of response that you are specifically aiming for? 

FDJ: I think to get a response is one thing, but to get the right response is actually more interesting.  If you ask yourself, as an artist, you communicate something to an audience to get a response, but it depends on what type of response that is.  If the response contributes something towards your work or research, it is more valuable than just any response.  I am wondering if it is important for an artist to be able to control this?

SC: Do you think that this relates to the period when you created and filmed theatrical performances? Are you still fond of the idea of directing and provoking a reaction within such staged or directed environments?

FDJ: I want the viewer to be more involved within the work than before, I always claimed that my works are created as life sized figures that are caught in an act or situation so the viewer becomes a witness to, or part of the act, but maybe I want my work to suggest something much more subtle, less physical and with the energy releasing itself in deeper layers of the work.

SC: Perhaps the Middelheim Museum is the more natural environment for your works, largely due to the fact that the non-acclimatized environment will naturally provoke more diverse reactions? 

FDJ: Yeah you are right, the viewer is less aware that they are part of a play.  Perhaps, what it is, I want to use the entire park as a stage set, because it actually is already a directed space but no one knows who is directing the space.

SC: Can you expand on how you approached the use of the pavilion differently from the open park area.

FDJ: The pavilion where I show the other part of the work was designed by the architects Robbrecht en Daem, and is very peculiar in its form and function. I like the pavilion very much in a very extreme way.  Let me explain: to me it looks armored; more like a tank or prison, or maybe even a mental institution protecting or even attacking something that is present in its surrounding.  It puts you, as a visitor on your guard, and makes you sharp in your observation of what is shown inside.

In the installation Amabilis Insania: The Pleasing Delusion, I like to refer to the pavilion as the basement, or subconscious of the Middelheim Museum, from the perspective of Freud’s psychoanalytic theories.

SC: It would be best to refer to your figurative sculptures as characters, or actors, for they adopt multiple roles within your exhibitions.  The Dual is of particular interest as these characters were originally created for The Immortals, though have reappeared, taking on new roles.  I am interested if you can discuss the general significance of re-using characters within your works?

FDJ: It seems to me that human beings are fooling themselves over and over again with the idea that we can improve and control our immediate environment, and the world, in just one lifetime. It fascinates me that we are part of a bigger natural cyclic process, and that we keep the faith in progress and technology as some sort of escape from the human drama of decay and death.

To answer your question, I like to consider the characters in my work as universal actors, or dummies, and that they can change their role, costume and performance, but not the fact that they are originating from the same source, and doomed to a mortal life.

SC: To what extent is it important for you and your audience to experience these characters within different environments and contexts?

FDJ: Not so important, only for myself; each time they play a different role in a different exhibition.  They are not always recognised as the same characters. I often change them to such an extent that you wouldn’t recognise them.

SC: The creation of bronze sculptures results in the adoption of historical baggage, for the historical associations connected with this material is not always of primary importance, or perhaps necessarily wanted.  One way to avoid this is by hiding the fact that the works are in fact bronze casts.  For instance, artists such as Pablo Picasso did just this by painting the surfaces of Le Verre d’Absinthe, whilst Jeff Koons explored this through his series of painted bronze inflatables.

To what extent is the symbolic significance of the bronze important to you when considering the viewers reading of these new works? 

FDJ: I already experienced that some people like my work because it is bronze in a traditional way, while I am just using it to take my work one step further.  But, I know this of course because it is so much of a cliché.

SC: Let’s break this down, why do you think the use of bronze is clichéd?  Do you want to alter this interpretation of the material?

FDJ: It’s funny because there is an exhibition here in Amsterdam of bronzes by Jonathan Meese, and I like them in their own way, but what he is doing with bronze is different from what I am doing.  I think it has something to do with what you were asking me, what do I want the viewer to see?  Do I want them to see a bronze sculpture? Or, do I want them to see an artwork?

SC: Is there a difference?

FDJ: Yeah, the question of course is that there are so many alternative materials that are logical to use rather than bronze, like polyester or types of resin that are lighter and easier to handle.  I like the fact that bronze is at one point in a liquid state and it can be transformed into so many different shapes depending on the artists design.  So, bronze is serving a purpose in a way.  The artist can make himself superior by transforming this material into anything that he wants to express, so it is a medium to speak about something else.  Though, when you paint the bronze’s surface, you don’t see whether it is either bronze or polyester.

I think also, by using bronze, there is something within the tradition of art where you want to make yourself immortal as an artist. There is also a tradition that the sculpture of the figure will last longer than an ordinary lifetime.

SC: Public sculptures and monuments were made using indestructible materials in order to stand the test of time, to survive well into the distant future in order to educate the viewer of ones historical importance within the past. Do you specifically wish for your bronze works to remind the viewer of their own mortality?

FDJ: We know that we are not immortal, though it is attractive to be in touch with a painting that is 300 years old.  We can see that it survived through time! That’s why I think we are so uptight about conservation because if we lose that, we have to admit that life is useless. You can materialize as much as you want, though we will inevitably die anyway. Though it is with this depressive awareness that I don’t want to make depressing art, I want to give some sort of hope that something can live on through art via bronze.

I think art gives us a bit of comfort where something can rise above the material world.

SC: When standing in front of one your sculptures where the character is wielding a gun, it feels as if there is a stand off occurring between the sculpture and the viewer.  Could you consider the Dual as metaphorically commenting on this battle with mortality? Of who will survive longest? 

FDJ: In a way, yes! I like the idea that the male and female characters seem related and not intending to shoot at each other at all and just acting as if they are in a duel. This makes the scene more curious in relation to the viewer.

SC: The greenish tones created on the surfaces of bronze sculptures signify ageing and decay, both of which are aspects of the process that hugely interest you.  To what extent has the natural decaying process of bronze influenced your usage of bronze? 

FDJ: I think by showing the vulnerability of bronze through retaining the natural imperfections of the casting process highlight how vulnerable the material naturally is.  I think also this relates to how human like the material is. What most people don’t know is that the green color that many bronze sculptures and statues have in public space is the effect of natural corrosion. The way that bronze statues outlive a human life, and that they deliberately represent mostly immortalized powerful political/economical/cultural or religious figures from the past.  They make us believe that the sculptures themselves are somehow immortal, while they are in fact constantly exposed to corrosion and decay by exposure to open air.

I like to think of corrosion being a symbol for mortality, that’s why I like the idea that the color of the work will possibly change and evolve in time depending on the circumstances that you exhibit it in.

I think this is why I make a difference between the characters presented outside, to those presented within the pavilion. The pavilion is the equivalent of an art’s space, and I want to use this understanding in a metaphorical way because the park is a public space that is openly accessible, though not in the center of town.  If I consider the park as a stage, the pavilion is also another stage; both of which are different as the viewer expects something different in each space. The pavilion is also expected to house something protected or precious, so I wanted to make the characters within the pavilion even more fragile by taking their skin away, the flesh, to reveal the innards, perhaps suggesting as if they are from the mortuary.  What is interesting is that when you remove the skin we are all equal.

SC: Objects that are vulnerable and precious seem to be related to spirituality on a symbolic level, for spirituality seems to be closely related to the mystical nature of fragility. Do you consider your sculptures as being spiritual or mystical due to the state of fragility that your characters are portrayed? I.e., as being partially de-fleshed, though still standing?

FDJ: Yes, I can find myself very well in this thought and I am happy that you bring this up. I agree upon the idea that people are more sensitive or conscious of the details, because of the vulnerability and preciousness of the artwork.

SC: In general, I am always interested in the viewer’s awareness and understanding of an artworks material, and to what extent the artist tests the viewer’s understanding.  I don’t believe that everything should be easily accessible, or clearly obvious, and that the viewing of art should be a bit of a game…

FDJI think you are totally right, by making it more complex you demand more participation from the viewer in unrevealing the truth behind the work. Right?

SC: I agree.

FDJ: That is what I like. But also it is just another strategy I think, similar to my use of the plastics and polyurethane works, as they work in a different way and requires something similar but different from the viewer.  Perhaps the bronze demands a more complex effort to see past purely the material association alone. 

SC: Bronze as a material is very malleable; it can be melted down and recycled over and over again.  What interests me is that your past works are not recyclable, for once the chemicals are mixed, they cannot be returned to their primary form.  Due to the eternal value and nature of bronze, you can dictate the lifespan of your works…

FDJ: In the back yard of the Middelheim Museum, there are sculptures from the center of Antwerp that were taken away or removed due to urban re-development.  It is like a scrap heap of sculptures, and what I like is that these sculptures are lying horizontal as opposed to standing, and the dripping of the patina goes down the wrong way.  It is both sad and dramatic because the works meaning has become lost due to it being removed from its pedestal. The sculpture has become dishonored. The sculpture has fundamentally been reduced and returned to its material value as a piece of scrap bronze or metal.

SC: The works symbolism would therefore become lost due the sculpture being taken out of its context, therefore losing its core conceptual value…

FDJ: What I like is that when you consider the length of time that a bronze sculpture exists, the artist’s symbolism that was originally connected to the sculpture changes, therefore altering the sculptures original function. The sculpture also runs the risk of becoming anonymous, and perhaps the viewer begins to reinterpret the sculpture for him/herself.  It is like after the death of the artist, people question the sculptures symbolism. Art historians try to reconstruct it, though it often takes hundreds of years for the symbolism to become lost before the historians have to begin figuring it out again.

SC: The work becomes autonomous, free from the artists voice.  This reminds me of Barthes’ The Death of The Author…

FDJ: What I like about what the surrealists were doing, like the work of Max Ernst, is that they made collages out of symbols that were already disconnected from their original meaning.  They were messing it up in their time, and we tend to mystify certain symbols because we like to understand symbols and what they represent.  Like, a skull traditionally represents death, though once such symbols lose their meaning, and you rearrange those meanings, they become sort of mythical or mystical.  That’s what I like about the fruit or still life; I mystify domestic objects.  I would like to say that I add a mystical value to an ordinary object, I want the objects to have this value, that bronze lasts longer than my life.  I can create a mystery because people like to believe in mystified symbols.  Or even, to see a mystery in something that is not mysterious at all.  Fundamentally, if we lose our belief in something, there is still this need to believe in the spiritual power of certain things, or the supernatural power of something.

I think it is interesting to make new constellations; I like to take different facts and to rearrange things or mash up a formula that no longer works.  I like to try to find logic within the illogical.  In a way, sometimes it is better to take things more playful.

SC: A model of the Spanish Armada was used for the making of The Prophecy, featured within your 2007 exhibition Der Falsche Prophet at Peres Projects, Berlin.  This model, akin to the sort used within the Spanish Armada, references Philip II of Spains’ focus on trade and Catholic colonization.  The prophecy is exhibited as being minus it’s sails, perhaps historically alluding to the failure of the Spanish Armada?

From my perspective, what interests me is your most recent exploration of the subject of colonization where I interpret your usage of a model RMS Queen Mary, whose namesake is Queen, Mary of Teck, as a reference pointing towards both Mary I (of England) and Mary, Queen of Scots (whom Philip II of Spain hoped would become heir over Elizabeth I).

Your sculpture, Queen Mary, is of a standing female figure that holds a model of the Ocean Liner RMS Queen Mary high above her head.  It metaphorically represents an early 20th century pride of contemporary colonization, discovery and travel.  What is it about these topics that continue to intrigue you?

FDJYes totally, I must say, even with the ocean liner I think it is not just about colonization of other continents or populations, I think colonization took place by just a small amount of people going by ship, or the Armada, but the ocean liner made it possible for common people also to conquer a stretch of the ocean.

Used for leisure, it was also part of fashion for people to reach that new world, to visit as a tourist, but also made it possible for people to understand the size of the world! From my perspective, the ocean liner is more so a symbol for the conquering of the modern man over the traditional man, of the brain over the body; where science could turn dreams into reality. The power of man over nature, and himself, by the means of technology increased tremendously! It signifies the moment where a whole population, no matter which class or status, had the sudden feeling of being part of a dramatic change in the world, where also one’s perception of the world changed.  Everybody suddenly had something to conquer: mentally, physically and financially.

SC: I am interested in how the motif of the boat has been reinterpreted within your work; it has now adopted a new symbolism.  For instance, The Armada is symbolic of war and conquer, whilst the ocean liner is the opposite, it is leisurely travel.

FDJ: I think what I am interested in is how human intelligence has always been used for the improvement of business, warfare and colonization, I have the feeling that the ocean liner made it possible for more people to travel, more common people. For instance, in the 16th century, it wasn’t possible for those people on the ships to just go on holiday, the idea of the holiday didn’t exist, and it wasn’t invented yet! [Laughs]

When the military intervention was restricted to a certain battle, when more people had access to technology like traveling by ship, the larger amount of people become involved when there was a disaster. For instance, once upon a time, living in a high building was only for a king, now anyone can live in a high building.  The risks become higher through industrialization.  When a disaster breaks out, more people get affected. When you think about technology, everyone has access though the risks are higher.

SC: What is the metaphorical significance of the ocean liner? 

FDJ: I think it is a metaphor for society moving, wanting to conquer something. Everyone is involved, no one is excluded. Even if the poorer want to be on the boat, they can be through buying a cheaper ticket where they may need to stay in the lower levels of the boat. Though, if the ship goes down, everyone goes down. 

SC: Within your last exhibition at the Middelheim Museum, The Sculptor, The Devil and the Architect, 2006, you portrayed yourself as the sculptor holding a miniature version of Brancusi’s Endless Column.  This stake like structure returns within The Nihilist Table.  I am interested to know more about this piling of the Orange, Lemon, Lime and walnuts.

FDJ: Well if you look at the Endless Column of Brancusi, there is something very spiritual and also mathematical in it that is connected with something endless, where you end up with something divine or religious.  You are going beyond the rules of gravity or science.  Therefore, artists like Brancusi placed himself within a spiritual position by creating the Endless Column, or The Newborn.  It is a big fundamental thing to put oneself within such a position, and to give your work such a title and value!

Brancusi was able to create The Newborn that is the perfect mystification or illusion. The work also places him within the traditional by connecting him to something divine or religious.  It questions what was the position of the artist in the past? While, I think if you look at Cezanne for example, his domestic still life paintings of fruit appear very ordinary. They were created in the artist’s studio, but through time the painting of that still life became very valuable, and he himself became historically and culturally valuable. I find that in the case of Brancusi, it is not about the domestic; Brancusi was consciously playing with this image. It is about questioning the position of the artist.

SC: Within The Nihilist Table there is a clear rejection of the laws of gravity, are you consciously categorizing your work within the realm of the divine?

FDJ: The artist is the only one who can break the rules of nature. It is a big thing that an artist can do this!

SC: So through this work, are you suggesting that both the artist and viewer should not underestimate the seemingly banal and ordinary still life?

FDJ: Yes. But I also want to say that the amazing power of creation is within the most simple of things, but the viewer or artist regularly looks too far away. They look far into space thinking that the amazing is there, when really it is in the normal object. I think that it is too crazy to be true.

Within the Nihilist Table, I like to reference Cezanne as it is more intimate, but I understand that it has the potential to refer more to bigger artworks like Brancusi’s Endless Column.  But, this is just a first suggestion to say that something very intimate, or domestic, or maybe even poor should not be underestimated. When you consider the romanticized idea of the artist within his Parisian studio, using whatever he can find, he would make a still life and then one day it would be seen in the world’s biggest museums.  I like this idea, but Matisse also, he painted so simply but so beautifully complex at the same time. You can break your head over thinking about it.

SC: Is nostalgia considered within your work?  Nostalgia for a time or period passed?

FDJ: I think I would like to refer to these elements within my works as entry points where the viewer can refer to their cultural background. History is built up of events, like war and also of family, and if you bring back certain elements from the past and rearrange them, you can bring out different associations tied to these objects that come from a particular story, re-question them and then suddenly, the event from the past changes. So it comes back to you, and you begin to question or doubt the place where you are. By this, you begin to question whether there is another story connected to it that tells another truth that can put things upside down.  But, also it makes you a bit sharper by re-observing your own position. So, I think people feel comfortable with symbols from the past, because the past is gone. They feel safe.  You cannot re-live the past. But, if you question it and bring out another truth, or another point of view, your existence becomes breakable, so I like to point out that people have to be sharper of their observations of their surroundings and position, and to not take it for granted.

SC: The Eleven Myth is a work based on the many myths surrounding Van Gogh.  Can you discuss this work and how this connects to the context of the exhibition?

FDJ: I started with this idea of decay, the beauty of the park, and the idea of perfection opposite to decay. They are strong elements within this show, art in relation to decay! I was thinking a lot about Van Gogh also using the still life, or rotten fruits and the death of flowers as a symbol, and subject of his art. It is a very strong combination of art as something superior, it is related to death and dark things. I thought that he needed a place in this show. The title is based on the idea that there are ten myths around the life and work of Van Gogh, one of them being for example the reason why Van Gogh had cut his ear. Though, The Eleventh Myth is about a story I read of Vincent Van Gogh, he apparently went out painting at night with burning candles planted on his hat in order to see his canvas, and to paint in the dark.

I also like the straw hat as a metaphor or symbol of the bohemian artist, though it also relates within this exhibition to the Queen Mary piece of the woman holding the boat who also wears a straw hat.  I feel that it is a symbol for going out on a Sunday in a little rowing boat. It also owns the same romanticism of the artist going into the fields with his straw hat, with the candles. It becomes a total fiction. Van Gogh’s hat would never be able to support the candles, but it reminds me a bit of Dali, where you also see this kind of crazy symbolism.

SC: Where did you first hear about this myth of Van Gogh’s candled straw hat?

FDJ: I read it somewhere recently. I have already used this hat for several projects; one being for the costumes that I designed and had made for the William Shakespeare theatre play "Troilus and Cressida”, in collaboration with the New York based theatre company The Woostergroup. I always think about Van Gogh with this hat, it is both a dramatic and romantic story about Van Gogh. I like the idea of the drama of the artist within his studio having to use whatever he has around him, all of the domestic things he can find to make an arrangement. But actually it is a calculated success formula, maybe not for the artist but afterwards, the dramatic life of the artist.

SC: There is also a metaphorical contrast between the straw hat and the top hat.

FDJ: Whilst the top hat is representing wealth, business, financial success, fashion and show business, the straw hat is more like the bohemian hat; it represents the clichéd lifestyle of the 19th century artist!  I like the idea that the candles would drip down onto the bronze, and it made me think a lot of this idea of the dungeon or like in a church where you burn a candle to memorize something, to make a prayer. But to put the candle on a bronze hat, it will never burn or go on fire.

SC: Would you remove the wax between each showing or would you allow it to build up?  I like the idea that if you didn’t, it would eventually just build up into a large mound of wax.

FDJ: I like that; there is a nice contrast between the ageing bronze and the burning candle melting relatively fast.  It is not very surprising, but I like the idea of time passing a bit faster in the context of this exhibition, and that the element of time visualizes itself via the building up of the wax.

SC: The candle is therefore symbolic of time passing…

FDJ: I also think that the candle would turn the sculpture into something decorative, like a candle stand. So, it is a last attempt to give a final twist to the meaning of the bronze, as being a pedestal to light the pavilion. Bringing the pavilion into the context of being a domestic space. 

Folkert de Jong