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Folkestone Triennial 2017 and permanent outdoors artwork

Nine weeks of art will be celebrated during the Folkestone Triennial later this year.

The fourth triennial - a giant outdoor arts festival held every three years - will take place from September 2 to November 5.

Organised by the Creative Foundation, it will be curated for the second time by Lewis Biggs. Lewis will be commissioning internationally recognised artists to make new contemporary artworks that will be exhibited in public spaces around the town.

The slogan Folkestone is an Art School will be displayed throughout the town as part of the triennial, promoting Folkestone as an art-friendly place to learn and live
The slogan Folkestone is an Art School will be displayed throughout the town as part of the triennial, promoting Folkestone as an art-friendly place to learn and live

Lewis said: "Great art makes change and the ambition of this exhibition is to give artists the opportunity to make excellent new work that plays with ambiguity and the several meanings of edge, stimulating audiences to consider why the world is the way it is, how it might be, and how it is always possible to change it."

Some of this year's pieces will become permanent fixtures, joining the town's permanent collection, Folkestone Artworks, that has built up since the first triennial in 2008.

Included in the collection is Kent artist Tracey Emin’s Baby Things. The pieces can be found hanging from railings, or just lying on the kerb, but if you touch them, you’ll feel they are bronze casts and not woollen mittens or cardigans. The pieces are reminders of Folkestone’s high teenage pregnancy rate, similar to that of Margate, her home town.

Tracey Emin with one of her Baby Things near Folkestone Harbour
Tracey Emin with one of her Baby Things near Folkestone Harbour

At the harbour see if you can see Carrancas by Tonico Lemos Auad, a fist which disappears when the tide is in, and has been a fixture for long enough that algae has begun to grow on it. It was inspired by Brazilian boat figureheads, which were used as symbolic talismans to protect sailors.

A now weathered sculptural pavilion a short walk’s distance with the unlikely name of Steve is by Sarah Stanton, while a stone’s throw away is Folkestone’s answer to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid – the Folkestone Mermaid, by Cornelia Parker. The lifesize cast of Folkestone resident Georgina Baker, is a monument of the people, for the people.

The Folkestone Artworks
The Folkestone Artworks

A few years ago Yoko Ono visited to see her inclusions unveiled. Her Skyladder projects a beam of light saying Earth Peace in Morse code, and the same statement is carved in stone, which looks out over the area.

Another thought-provoking creation is Mark Wallinger’s Folk Stones. At the top the zig-zag path near the Leas, it’s made up of 19,240 individually numbered stones signifying the number of British soldiers killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The Folk Stones
The Folk Stones

Folkestone Artworks is a permanent display made up of 27 pieces. The collection is free to see all year round.

For details of the next triennial and the artworks, go to folkestoneartworks.co.uk or creativequarterfolkestone.org.uk

Supported by Visit Kent

Visit Kent
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