Since 2008, the south-east England coastal town of Folkestone, has become an unlikely location for ambitious, engaging and dynamic artistic interventions. For the fourth iteration of the triennial, 21 new site-specific commissions will transform the town’s public spaces into a gallery without walls.
From wanting to enhance the mosque to recreating Victorian lampposts, each of the international line-up, that includes Antony Gormley, Wong Hoy Cheong and Sol Calero, have focused on very different aspects of the town. Richard Woods’ witty Holiday Home sculptures, that will be sited at various locations, highlight the ‘so-called “housing-crisis” in the South East of England’, while Lubaina Himid’s proposal of a Jelly Mould Pavilion considers the ‘role of sugar in Britain’s history’.
The theme of this year’s exhibition, double edge, which refers to the town’s historical and geographic axis, continues the pursuit of previous triennials by considering ‘sense of place’ and asks the artists to respond to the ‘physical and conceptual context of Folkestone’.
‘Great art is a mirror to the world, and this exhibition gives artists the opportunity to make new work that plays with ambiguity and stimulates audiences to consider broader issues such as why the world is the way it is, how it might be, and how change is always possible,’ said Lewis Biggs, curator of Folkestone Triennial.
One such artist wanting to action change and give Folkestone its own art school is Bob and Roberta Smith. An avid campaigner for arts education, the London-based artist has started a crowdfunding campaign hosted by Art Fund and proposes a number of banners declaring that ‘FOLKESTONE IS AN ART SCHOOL’ throughout the town.
Over the years the town’s people have become treasure hunters when Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer buried 30 pieces of 24-carat gold in the beach – 23 are still yet to be found – and the derelict Harbour Railway Station found new purpose with Tim Etchells’ neon artwork.
Folkestone Triennale: double edge will be at various locations of the Kent town from September 2 to November 5, 2017.