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Published 10/09/2014 email E-MAIL print PRINT

Folkestone Triennial

30 August – 2 November 2014

For the third edition of this bustling summer exhibition, curator Lewis Biggs has invited a selection of internationally renowned and local artists to produce 21 new artworks in response to specific sites across the town.

Indoors and out, they rejuvenate existing locations and create new community spaces. From Baroque-style lighthouse-beach huts to camping bases jutting out from the highest point of the tallest hotel in town; from the soundtrack of a sobbing woman to a Plexiglas and neon hop garden. This is a festival where no stone has been left unturned.

Studio International went on a coastal tour and managed to speak to a number of those involved, both artists and organisers.

Interviews by Anna McNay
Filmed by Martin Kennedy

Alastair Upton is chief executive of The Creative Foundation, an independent visionary arts charity seeking to rejuvenate Folkestone through creative activity. As well as restoring more than 90 buildings in the Creative Quarter and building the Quarterhouse arts venue, they are also the people behind the Triennial and its lasting legacy of permanent artworks around town. Upton speaks to us about the changes he has seen in Folkestone, thanks to the Foundation, and about how community projects and artworks, such as the creation of Payers Park, leave their mark.

Lewis Biggs is this year’s curator, invited to join the Folkestone Triennial after 11 years as chief executive and artistic director of the Liverpool Biennial. He was also director of Tate Liverpool from 1990-2000. Biggs speaks to us about the challenges of working with “real life” and how he sees his role as curator.

Fresh from his incredible journey with Nowhereisland, Alex Hartley speaks to us from his lookout atop the Grand Burstin Hotel. With a vigil being held for the duration of the triennial, we were lucky enough to experience the view on a beautiful, sunny day.

Jyll Bradley, a native of Folkestone, has returned to the town to create a wonderful homage to the Kentish hop gardens with which she grew up. Her work invites viewers to walk among the strings and green Plexiglas and neon poles and to enjoy three very different views across town. Constructed on the site of the old gasworks, the circular form also makes reference to the gasometer that once stood in this place.

Pablo Bronstein, whose Sketches for Regency Living graced the walls of the ICA in London this summer, has brought to life a sculpture based on the ideas of 18th-century architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. Bronstein’s creation is a grey beach hut, next to an empty container, with a non-functioning lighthouse extending above – and he explains to us why he hates beach huts and all things about them.

Emma Hart’s work is full of anxiety. Located in an empty domestic space on Tontine Street, it fills the rooms with outlines of glasses, remnants of a party, and video screens that scream out, both in desolation and invitation. Hart feels under pressure, but takes the time to talk to us about how this manifests.

The work of rootoftwo also responds to anxiety, but by measuring social media and people’s response to, and production of, fear on the internet. Five Whithervanes, at locations across town, spin and light up in different colours, according to the messages they are picking up. The artists explain to us how the system works and how visitors – and even those across the globe – can interact and have an impact on the Whithervanes’ activity.



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