With this year’s Folkestone Triennial set to open tomorrow, reporter Eleanor Gibson has selected 10 installations you shouldn’t miss, including a domed seafront pavilion imprinted with jelly moulds, a lamp post powered by a mushroom battery and a set of cartoon-style houses.
The theme selected for the Folkestone Triennial 2017 is Double Edge. Developed by curator Lewis Biggs, it references two borders that define the Kent town – the seashore and the Pent Stream watercourse, which divides Folkestone east to west.
David Shrigley, Richard Woods, Bob and Roberta Smith and Lubaina Himid are among the 19 artists who have responded to the brief for this year’s triennial, which will run until the 2 November 2017.
Other well-known contributors include Antony Gormley, who has installed a pair of his famous cast-iron figures and Michael Craig-Martin, who has painted a huge lightbulb to mark the entrance to the town’s creative quarter.
Read on for our top 10 picks:
The Clearing by Studio Ben Allen
London-based architects Studio Ben Allen installed sixteen plywood vaults to create a visitor centre inside the town’s Alison Brooks-designed cultural centre. The branching CNC-milled structures are reflected in mirrors at either end of the room, multiplying them to create a forest-like installation.
After seeing advertisements to buy holiday homes in Folkestone, artist Richard Woods wanted to highlight the implications of second residences on the housing market. He created six identical sculptures of miniature homes featuring bright graphic facades, which are installed in different locations across the town – including one cast adrift on a float.
Folkestone is an Art School by Bob and Roberta Smith
This series of posters by British artist Bob and Roberta Smith (a pseudonym used by Patrick Brill) aims to show that Folkestone already has the resources for an art school. The project has also includes a temporary teaching facility in the town’s Creative Quarter, offering sessions for local school children and 12 free online educational films.
Casa Anacona by Sol Calero
Murals of fruit and trees decorate this temporary wooden beach hut on the pebble shore, which is filled with equally bright furniture that offers visitors a spot to sit and enjoy sea views. Its designer – Berlin-based Venezuelan artist Sol Calero – chose the colour scheme to highlight cultural clichés often associated with Latin America.
Jelly Mould Pavilion by Lubaina Himid
The domed roof of this pavilion is covered with semi-circular markings made with the ceramic jelly moulds African artist Lubaina Himid – a nominee for this year’s Turner Prize – has spent years collecting. Installed on the former site of an amusement park, the design is intended to reference the candy floss and other sugary treats once sold and consumed there.
Wall by Alex Hartley
British artist Alex Hartley has filled a white cage with quern-stones, a tool first used in the Neolithic era for hand-grinding. The stones, which were dug from the site, counterbalance the structure as it protrudes over the edge of East Cliff and are intended to fall out as the hill below erodes.
Lamp Post (as remembered) by David Shrigley
British artist David Shrigley tasked an Edinburgh-based artist to recreate one of the town’s Victorian-era street lights from memory. The Lamp Post could be easily missed, but is slightly smaller in stature and features a differently coloured base than its neighbours.
Folke Stone Power Plant by Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas
US-based artists Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas were also influenced by the Folkestone lamp posts, after finding one in the market place that lit up during the day and switched off at night. To solve this flaw, the duo built a stony mass next to it containing an organic battery made from compressed portobello mushroom. A well in the roof directs natural light down into the structure and enough energy is stored to provide electricity to light the the lamp post’s bulb.
Minaret by HoyCheong Wong
To draw attention to Folkestone’s Islamic Community Centre, Malysian artist HoyCheong Wong has fronted its nondescript facade with a more dramatic entrance made from scaffolding and green material. The scaffolding poles and mesh fabric form a pair of minarets joined by an archway, which are illuminated at night.
Customs House: Urban Room Folkestone by Diane Denver and The Decorators
This pink outdoor furniture set is part of an installation by artist and curator Diane Denver, and the design practice The Decorators. Located in a carpark outside the last remaining building of the harbour-side Customs House, which was largely destroyed during the second world war, it acts as a mobile library where visitor’s can read up on the town’s history.
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