The second Folkestone Triennial is ready to get under way, Kent Life feature
PUBLISHED: 17:01 23 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:26 20 February 2013
The second Folkestone Triennial is ready to get under the skin of the town and activate it in a way that an exhibition in a gallery will never do...
The Folkestone Triennial, a fantastic adjunct to the normal summer charms of this Kentish seaside town, will grip Folkestone for three months from 25 June.
This is Folkestones second triennial of art by acclaimed national and international artists. It is curated by renowned art historian Andrea Schlieker who also curated Trafalgar Squares Fourth Plinth under the aegis of the Creative Foundation and Folkestone philanthropist Roger De Haan.
I asked Andrea Schlieker about the first Triennial, its levels of success and achievements and its lessons for this second great event. We were all delighted and surprised at the success of the first Triennial, because youjust never know, she admits.
You work hard to pull off a project but you have no idea because its a first and it is not a metropolitan situation. We had no idea how it would be received, but we had 300 reviews, including TV and radio, nationally and internationally. I received postcards, letters and emails from complete strangers.
Some residents had been aware of the decline of the town, but with the Triennial rediscovered their love for it. The Triennial goes way beyond an exhibition or museum experience and that sums up the mission of this exhibition, adds Andrea.
It goes beyond the White Cube, it is out in the lived context of a seaside town which is constantly reinventing itself. Unlike a capital project in a museum, this gets under the skin of a town and activates it in a way that an exhibition in a gallery will never do.
The Triennial has hugely benefited the town. Together with the Book Festival, this has really put Folkestone on the map, says Andrea. The Triennial attracts a wide audience and this year there will be a big conference which will add gravitas, bringing together sociologists, political and cultural theorists and providing a platform on which to debate ideas of globalisation and migration.
This years theme is A Million Miles from Home, reflecting the global reach in the choice of artists and their brief. Many have experienced hybridity,bi-culturalism, and many will workin a political way. They will either punctuate experiences of migration or perhaps work with myth and ritual on the notion of an other world.
Ive also invited local artistsStrange Cargo because the whole notion of home is as important as the distant places, adds Andrea. Strange Cargo will be collaborating with the public on a project called Everywhere Means Something to Someone.
I ask what sort of variety of media the artists will be using and Andrea says: I always want to have as much variety as possible and the exhibition is aimed at reflecting the variety of work around, so there is not just sculpture and installation, but also sound, film, performance.
Works share the participatoryand the collaborative. Some artists have worked with Folkestones residents and specialist groups, such as Camp, who collaborated with the National Coastguard Watch.
Cornelia Parker OBE collaborated with womens groups around Folkestone to create the Folkestone Mermaid, Olivia Plender is working with FHODs, the amateur dramatic organisation, and her work will be in Folkestone at the Masonic Hall.
It has been important for Andrea to explore with the artists unusual venues in the town, places that are not often opened up. Im very excited by the use of unusual locations, which is a strong element to make the art experience. This time theres lots about access and what is public and what is private, that threshold is explored.
Take the work of Hamish Fulton, one of Britains great land artists, who will be using his keynote walks to give Folkestone residents a very intimate experience of what he considers is almost a long-last art in itself: walking.
Other venues will include St. Marys and St. Eanswythes church, where Hew Locke, who has exhibited from Canada to China, will create an installation entitled For Those in Peril on the Sea, including many model ships from around the world.
Martello Tower No 4 features in the piece by one of Spains renowned contemporary artists, Cristina Iglesias.
Andrea has been adept at inviting the participation of artists who may be young or old, celebrated or emerging with some names who are a real coup.
Whatever your tastes in art, there will be something to entice and challenge, to make you think, to delight and entertain you in Folkestone this summer.
The Fringe exhibition parallels the Triennial and includes the following:
International Lighthouse Relay more than 40 artists working on20 different lighthouses.A Hotels Project encompasses photography, running through sevenof Folkestones hotels.
There is also a DIY Fringe, which invites artists to propose work that is interventionist in the sense that it will enhance the encounter of the public with the art. The Fringe itself is a non-profit organisation. The core team is giving its time and expertise for free, taking as an inspiration the curious nature of the town and its hinterland, including Dungeness and South Foreland.
The Folkestone Artists Collective is also planning a number of art projects for the Triennial Fringe:
A sculptural installation set on the hilltops between Sugar Loaf Hill and Samphire Ho that depicts the passage of the sun throughout the day.
Metal sculptures and images of the aliens derived from H.G. Wells War of the Worlds created around town.
A star map created by placing star names and images in specific locations, photographing and mapping them
An image of a barcode created on the beach using black and white pebbles collected from the foreshore. This will be photographed and filmed as it is created and as the tide washes it away.
Dates for your diary
26 June A piece will be shown on Art On The Leas Railings, 10am-4pm
6 August The Zig Zag Path Cave at The Amphitheatre is be a Triennial Fringe showing of Folkestone sounds and light at Zig Zag Art & The Big Gig.