Lubaina Himid, David Shrigley and Bob and Roberta Smith are among the artists commissioned to create new site-specific works for  the fourth edition of the Folkestone Triennial, which opens 2 September 2017.

With its title and theme ‘double edge’, organisers Creative Foundation say this year’s triennial will “respond to the physical and conceptual context of Folkestone” by reflecting on the two main axes around which Folkestone’s development as a town has taken place: the seashore and an ancient water course called the Pent Stream.

Creative Foundation say the theme also resonates with major contemporary cultural, economic and political realities experienced as part of everyday lives in Folkestone and across the globe, such as migration, border control, wealth inequality and climate change.

Lewis Biggs, curator of the triennial, said: “Great art is a mirror to the world, and this exhibition gives artists the opportunity to make new work that plays with ambiguity and stimulates audiences to consider broader issues such as why the world is the way it is, how it might be, and how change is always possible.”

An art school for Folkestone

Bob and Roberta Smith’s commission, Folkestone Is An Art School!, will reveal the talents of the town’s resident artists, develop their teaching skills, and engage a cohort of young people in making art. The project aims to show that if town is an art school, then by extension, all towns should be art schools.

Smith has created a series of 12 short pedagogical videos which will be posted on the Folkestone Triennial site in the lead up to the final commission, with the first video, Time & Beginnings, already online.

A crowdfunding campaign has also been launched to help fund the public face and visual identity of the project that will see the town covered in banners, posters and artwork created by Smith. There will also be a series of declarations created by students at local secondary schools in response to the commission’s rallying call.

Lubaina Himid’s commission, Jelly Mould Pavilion, will be constructed on Folkestone’s seafront on the former site of the town’s fun fair, lido and amusement park where candy floss and toffee apples once fuelled summer visitors. The pavilion’s colourful decoration in the artist’s signature patterning will serve as a reminder of the lost amusement park, as well as providing a shelter at the edge of the town to rest, look out to sea, and think about the role of sugar in Britain’s history.

Folkestone’s economy in transition is the subject of David Shrigley’s commission which will uncover how the town has developed from a ‘seasonal’ holiday economy to a ‘creative hub’ that is active all-year round. Shrigley’s project will reflect upon how memories, heritage sites and the images we take when we visit them can be subverted or revived by a contemporary creative twist.

A number of the commissioned works will remain in the town after the exhibition closes to add to Folkstone’s expanding public art collection, Folkestone Artworks.

The full list of Folkestone Triennial 2017 commissioned artists is: Rigo 23, Sol Calero, Michael Craig-Martin, Antony Gormley, Carmody Groarke, Alex Hartley, Lubaina Himid, Ann Veronica Janssens, Emily Peasgood, Amalia Pica, Marc Schmitz and Dolgor Ser-Od, David Shrigley, Bob and Roberta Smith, Sinta Tantra, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, HoyCheong Wong, Gary Woodley, Bill Woodrow, Richard Woods, and Jonathan Wright.

Folkestone Triennial 2017: ‘double edge’, 2 September – 5 November 2017.

Bob and Roberta Smith, Folkestone Is An Art School!

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