‘Painting is about life and death to me. I live to paint and it is something that is always on my mind. I find themes on the street and you can see the theme as a metaphor of life. That’s where it happens and that’s what I process in my work to life and death’
Erik de Jong (Steenwijk, 1958) knew that he wanted to be a painter starting from a young age. After he finished his studie at the Minerva Academie in Groningen in 1984, he decided to move to Amsterdam. In 1987 the artist had his first solo exhibition in Galerie Mokum. De Jong has a preference for the human as a theme in a landscape or in an interior. De people that he depicts are mostly men that are lost in thought or that are stilled in motion. The artist creates a distance between the spectator en the imaged figures in his paintings. This provides a moment of rest, but still there is a feeling of tension: has there already been action or does this moment still have to come? The reality has always been the starting point of de painting of De Jong, but the border between reality and that what is suggested is very thin. This is something we can see clearly in most of his recent paintings. We see a policeman, but what else do we see? Usually there are several hidden layers in the work of De Jong. When you look at the reflection in the glasses of the policeman, you can see that he is standing in a room. The artist tells us: ‘it actually isn’t a policeman, it’s a friend of mine that likes to dress up like a policeman. (…) We all have archetype images in our head and we usually don’t look further than this.
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