Thematically, De Jong’s carefully decayed constructions often deal with unfair deals, profiteering, and the ghosts of colonialism and imperialism. The figures in The Dance (2008) all happen to be made from a single mould, based on a composite of a 16th-17th century trader character amalgamated from historical figures such as Pedro de Alvarado, Peter de Minuit and Hernan Cortes, as well as Rembrandt’s Nightwatch.
The installation recalls the monument in New York’s Battery Park celebrating the Dutch purchase of Manhattan for some beads and mirrors; here, as the artist explains, “the clones are trading with themselves, their own kind, ripping off each other and dancing towards their destiny; self-destruction.” The characters’ grand, nightmarish song and dance has a deathly tone, with its symbolic black coating, like dripping tar.

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