3 - 12 November 2020

    In lieu of FIAC 2020

  • Jacqueline de JonG: Catastrophes


  • Due to the cancellation of FIAC 2020 and the gallery's respective solo booth of early work by Jacqueline de Jong, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is pleased to launch Catastrophes, an online presentation of new paintings by this key figure of the European avant-garde.


    Marking de Jong's return to oil painting after a number of years, Catastrophes highlights Border Line (2020), a series of work addressing the traumatic experiences of migrants across the globe and critiquing the callous indifference shown to those fleeing war. Exacerbated by the pandemic and hostile politics, the immigration crisis has been thrown into sharp relief this year. The paintings from Border Line are presented alongside two earlier series that respond to major global conflict, tracing de Jong's treatment of war and the brutality of human nature as recurring themes throughout her career. On show are works on paper from WAR 1914-1918 (2013-14), which correlate the use of chlorine gas in two conflicts a century apart - the First World War and the Syrian Civil War, and Megaliths (1991), a response to media coverage of the First Gulf War. In bringing together these three bodies of work, Catastrophes underlines contemporary tragedy, viewing the present moment as part of the cyclical nature of history and human behaviour.


    A new conversation between Jacqueline de Jong and Amy Sherlock, Deputy Editor of frieze magazine, has been recorded to accompany the presentation, shown below.

  • Border Line, 2020  

    Border Line addresses the migrant crisis, depicting the horrors of overcrowded camps and treacherous sea crossings. The contemporary resonance of the series, initiated in late 2019, has intensified throughout this year. Most poignantly, de Jong makes reference to Moria, the largest refugee camp in Europe, which was devasted by fire some months after the paintings were completed. 

  • Jacqueline de Jong, Naufrage en Méditerranée (Border Line), 2020

    Jacqueline de Jong

    Naufrage en Méditerranée (Border Line), 2020
    oil and nepheline gel on canvas
    90 x 120 cm, 35 3/8 x 47 1/4 in
    € 22,000.00 (ex tax)
  • Throughout this body of work, huddled figures are compressed into tight spaces surrounded by barbed wire fences whilst airplanes fly overhead, filling the skies with flames. Through cramped boxes, abstracted planes of colour, and geometric lines, de Jong’s delineation of space expresses isolation and claustrophobia. Whilst certain figures are presented with sensitive realism, others become warped into monstrous, skeletal, or animalistic forms, an expression of the brutalising effects of trauma. The artist’s treatment of composition forms a dialogue with the ‘space-frame’ motif used by Francis Bacon, an older contemporary of de Jong. Echoing Bacon’s expressions of angst and alienation in the wake of the Second World War, de Jong’s enclosed spaces are packed more tightly with bodies, presenting displacement and despair as a shared experience and a collective failure.

  • Jacqueline de Jong, Moria (Idlib) Refugee Camp (Border Line), 2020

    Jacqueline de Jong

    Moria (Idlib) Refugee Camp (Border Line), 2020
    oil and nepheline gel on canvas
    100 x 150 cm, 39 3/8 x 59 1/8 in
    € 25,000.00 (ex tax)
  • ‘That de Jong should dwell so unrelentingly on the dark side of humanity is no real surprise considering her biography. Born on the cusp of World War II … the artist lived through an era of unprecedented bloodshed and upheaval, and has remained deeply politically engaged throughout her life. [ …] de Jong navigates the relationship between individual base impulses and the broader context of world affairs, illustrating how the former often drive the violent nature of the latter.'

     Ciara Moloney, Art in America, 2017

  • Jacqueline de Jong, Idlib (Moria), Refugee Camp (Border Line), 2020

    Jacqueline de Jong

    Idlib (Moria), Refugee Camp (Border Line), 2020
    oil and nepheline gel on canvas, two parts
    80 x 160 cm, 31 1/2 x 63 in
    € 25,000.00 (ex tax)
  • WAR 1914-1918, 2013-14  

    The WAR 1914-18 series was made during the centenary anniversary of the First World War and in response to the use of chlorine gas by Bashar Al-Asaad's regime in Syria - the same weapon used in the trenches or WWI and later prohibited by the 1925 Geneva Protocol. The artist employs chalk pastels with an uncharacteristically desolate palette, evoking the hushed terror and hazy assault of chemical warfare. Crawling in the mud, skeletal figures embrace one another with gruesome appetite or recline luxuriously - a bleakly comical performance enacted against the backdrop of trench warfare. These grisly skulls are reflected in the dark eyes of the men who stare out from white gas masks.

  • ‘[T]he 2014 series ‘War 1914–18’, […] nods to a lineage stretching from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s The Fall of the...

    ‘[T]he 2014 series ‘War 1914–18’, […] nods to a lineage stretching from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s The Fall of the Rebel Angels (1562) through Francisco de Goya’s The Disasters of War (1810–2) to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937).’

    Amy Sherlock, frieze magazine, 2017

  • ‘One of de Jong’s achievements is to have made room for the twentieth century’s horrors within a body of work...

    ‘One of de Jong’s achievements is to have made room for the twentieth century’s horrors within a body of work that nonetheless radiates an almost Nietzschean positivity. Or, indeed, a joie de vivre.’

    Daniel Spaulding, X-TRA, 2018

  • Megaliths, 1991

     Megaliths was de Jong's first series to directly address global conflict. Made in 1991, during the First Gulf War, this body of work responds to a new, collective experience of war, broadcast live from the front line. In contrast to the violent, sensationalist footage filmed from the perspective of U.S. bombers, de Jong presents the viewer with vast and desolate landscapes overshadowed by megaliths and wrestling titans - mythic bodies that metamorphose into one another. Long, expressive brushstrokes and a palette dominated by primary colours generate a sense of cataclysmic energy. The artist superimposes the brutality of a prehistoric era onto the conflict, charting a long history of human cruelty. Avoiding graphic realism, de Jong's indirect approach elicits a primal response.  

  • Jacqueline de Jong, Apocalypse Now Megalythes, 1991

    Jacqueline de Jong

    Apocalypse Now Megalythes, 1991
    oil on canvas
    130 x 190 cm, 51.2 x 74.8 in
    € 50,000.00 (ex tax)
  • ‘the paintings are simultaneously repulsive and utterly compelling. It’s the urgency of a life force that pulls you in, that glues you to the spot.’

    Millie Walton, Elephant Magazine, 2019

  • Jacqueline de Jong in conversation with Amy Sherlock

    1 November 2020
    • Jacqueline de Jong, Gulf War II, 1991
      Jacqueline de Jong, Gulf War II, 1991
    • Jacqueline de Jong, Golfoorlog I, 1991
      Jacqueline de Jong, Golfoorlog I, 1991
  • About Jacqueline de Jong


    About Jacqueline de Jong

    Jacqueline de Jong (b. 1939, Hengelo, The Netherlands) is widely known for her contribution to the European avant-garde of the 1960s. Most notably involved with the Situationist International and Gruppe SPUR, she later founded The Situationist Times (1962-7), producing six issues as its editor and publisher. Throughout a career spanning six decades her work has explored the violence, banality, eroticism and humour of human interaction. Painting is the foundation of her practice, which also encompasses drawing, sculpture, printmaking, jewellery and artist books.


    Solo museum exhibitions include her retrospective Pinball Wizard - The Work and Life of Jacqueline de Jong at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2019); Musée Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2018); Malmö Konsthall (2018); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2012); and the Beinecke Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Yale University (2012), following the acquisition of her archive, the Jacqueline de Jong Papers, the previous year.


    A new AWARE publication will be published this month, following the Outstanding Merit Award, presented to de Jong in 2019 by the French Ministry for Culture and the AWARE Prize for Women Artists. De Jong will have a retrospective in 2021 at WIELS Centre for Contemporary Art, Brussels, touring to Mostyn Contemporary Art Gallery, Wales.


    Collections include Centre Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée les Abattoirs, Toulouse; Cobra Museum for Modern Art, Amstelveen; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; Museum Arnhem, Arnhem; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Museum Jorn, Silkeborg; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo; MONA Tasmania, Hobart; Göteborgs konstmuseum, Gothenburg; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Rachofsky Collection, Dallas; and MCCA Toronto.