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Folkestone Triennial 2014

Inaugurated in 2008, Folkestone Triennial is one of the most ambitious exhibitions of contemporary art outside of the gallery context, presented in the UK. Taking place every three years, the Triennial is one of the five key projects set up by the Creative Foundation, an independent visionary arts charity dedicated to enabling the regeneration of Folkestone through creative activity.


Patrick Tuttofuoco, Folkestone Express, 2008. (C) Thierry Bal

In what will be its third edition, 2014’s Triennial will once again welcome artists of international standing to use the coastal town as their canvas. The event will run from 30th August to 2nd November.

Acclaimed artists include: Jyll Bradley; Pablo Bronstein; Strange Cargo; Diane Dever and Jonathan Wright; Tim Etchells; Andy Goldsworthy; Ian Hamilton Finlay; John Harle and Tom Pickard; Emma Hart; Alex Hartley; Krijn de Koning, Will Kwan; Gabriel Lester; Amina Menia; muf Architecture/Art; Yoko Ono; Marjetica Potrč and Ooze Architects; rootoftwo; Sarah Staton; and Something & Son.

Pablo Bronstein, 4 Alternate Designs for Lighthouse, 2013. (C) Herald Stree

Pablo Bronstein, 4 Alternate Designs for Lighthouse, 2013. (C) Herald Street

Charles Avery, 'The Sea Monster', Folkestone Triennial 2011. (C) Thierry Bal

Charles Avery, ‘The Sea Monster’, Folkestone Triennial 2011. (C) Thierry Bal

These artists have each been invited to make new work in relation to specific public sites in Folkestone. Under the title, Lookout, the artworks will relate directly to the town and its socio-economic and cultural history, as well as exploring universal issues. Some commissions will rejuvenate existing sites, while others will create new environments in the town, involve and collaborate with the local communities, and address aspects of our daily lives that affect people on a global scale, such as climate change, environment, sustainability, technology and communication.

Lewis Biggs, curator of Folkestone Triennial, said: “I’m very proud to be curator for an exhibition that is fast becoming a focus of interest around the world. The Folkestone Triennial presents a very special opportunity for artists who want the challenge of showing outside the gallery, museum or saleroom. I have been careful to invite only artists whose works fit the opportunity; who want to be in dialogue with the urban context; who have something to say about contemporary life in a wider world; and who want to engage with a broader audience.”

Lewis Biggs, curator of Folkestone Triennial

Lewis Biggs, curator of Folkestone Triennial

Programme Highlights

Yoko Ono has proposed several works conceived especially for the exhibition. One text work will appear in many places in Folkestone, including The Leas, whereby Yoko Ono staged an event at the Metropole Arts Centre in 1966. She has also written a new ‘instruction’, an invitation to the people of Folkestone, which will be exhibited in the Quarterhouse.

Andy Goldsworthy will collect clay from Folkestone’s beaches to create two installations in a space on The Old High Street. The installations will provide the opportunity for video work through time-lapse photography, examining the passing of time, the (economic) tide and the cycle of urban regeneration and decay.

Pablo Bronstein will pay homage to the development of English architectural vocabulary by designing a monumental sculpture in the manner of the 18th-century baroque architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor. An invocation of possible beach hut architecture, it will be located among the actual beach huts on the lower promenade of the Coastal Park.

Gabriel Lester’s sculpture for the Harbour Railway Viaduct is to be made out of bamboo – a feat inspired by the bamboo scaffolding he witnessed while living in China. Visitors are invited to climb into the sculpture to gain a new perspective over the harbour, the viaduct and their possible futures.

Jyll Bradley’s major new sculptural installation will be at the Old Gas Works site – the very place where electric light was first generated for Folkestone, but which has since been derelict and inaccessible for years. Green/Light, which makes use of traditional hop-stringing skills to create a web of colour and light, will be an exciting, immersive, reflective space inviting the regeneration of the site for the local community.

Alex Hartley will use the imposing architecture of Folkestone’s Grand Burstin Hotel as the location for his project, Vigil. Using state-of-the-art climbing technology, a lookout suspended from the highest point of the hotel will remain inhabited for the duration of the Triennial.

Something & Son will not only be using the flat roof of The Glassworks Sixth Form Centre to address the world’s impending food crisis, but it’ll be recruiting the students to take responsibility for a food-themed architectural installation. Amusefood riffs on seaside amusement arcades and the food that fuels them, while aiming for environmental sustainability by growing, cooking and serving fish, chips and mushy peas all on the same urban site.

muf Architecture/Art will redevelop an area known as Payers Park, which is currently dilapidated and negatively perceived. muf has been working with many different local groups to transform the area into a new park, thereby creating a new social space and encouraging passage through the area.

Marjetica Potrč and Ooze Architects will use the iconic brick structure of the mainline Foord Road Viaduct as the backdrop for a wind-powered lift. Carrying people to the top of the viaduct, visitors can enjoy stunning views over the Creative Quarter and Folkestone Harbour.

Locally based arts company, Strange Cargo, will use artistic sleight of hand to transform the railway bridge by Folkestone Central Railway Station into a lucky gateway to the town. The Luckiest Place on Earth will enlist the help of many participants from the local community.

Artist collaborators, rootoftwo, are creating five Whithervanes – a collection of 21st-century weathervanes that track and measure the production of fear on the Internet. The Whithervanes will rotate and change colour in response to the position and level of fear generated by the world’s media. They can also respond to passersby via Twitter.

Locally based artists, Diane Dever and Jonathan Wright, will use sculptural installations to invite reflection on the global and growing importance of water in the future. Their work rediscovers the hidden waterways of the Pent Stream, an untapped and unseen resource that flows from the hills to the harbour.

Tim Etchells’ new large-scale neon work, Is Why the Place, is inspired by the dramatic surroundings of the disused railway station in the harbour. Here, the artist recalls and meditates on the station’s former activity and questions its future.

To see the full artists programme, visit

Folkestone Triennial 2014 has been supported by The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Arts Council England, and the Folkestone Estate.

You can follow Folkestone Triennial 2014 on Instagram and Twitter at @FstoneTriennial #Lookout

Creative Quarter, Folkestone

Creative Quarter, Folkestone


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