serendipity – art on the coast

September 28, 2011

Folkestone is the home to the Triennial. The sub heading is A Million Miles From Home – supposedly providing the international feel of the events. The Leas high above the coastal path is a good starting place for any visit to the town. Sumptuously magnificent buildings of a certain age were well positioned set back sufficiently for some shelter and also to allow folks to promenade and generally enjoy themselves along the grassy terraces.  1st tick from me. The generous gradient offers at least three routes across the sloping cliff face including the zig-zag path which leads down to . . . .

. . a small amphitheatre. It’s modest but useful as onlookers can spread out either side or indeed view from the passing places on the winding path above. Impressive in a homely way but well thought out. 2nd tick.

Unobtrusive decoratively planted areas integrate within the surroundings of Lower Leas Coastal Path. There are options to the seating arrangements – variety in type and material – also tables for chess or picnics and other exercise equipment but discreet in proportion to the overall spatial use. I was aware of the sound a single bell – took me back to school days and the angelus! Not pleasant but the installation that featured this was very pleasing. The positioning is superb and the narrative equally interesting A K Dolven  ‘Out of Tune’ 16C tenor bell removed from a Leicestershire Church for not being in tune with the others. Disgrace but then recognition. 3rd tick.

The traditional bell-pull very popular especially with kids – these 2 aren’t kids, well in years being at least 50. Wander on to the old harbour station where the troops embarked for France during WWI. and was the also terminus for the Orient Express. Ghostlike and powerful  . . .

. . and the position for ‘Rug People’. Huge tick from me. Mark Wallinger used an associated concept for an installation from the first triennial that has been given a permanent home on The Leas ( the small images below).

Some industrial relics could be taken for ‘art’.  Whatever. The view of the East Cliff curving round to Dover is spectacular especially on a sunny day.

The heart of the town nestles around the harbour as it would have when planned and constructed. The tide retracts to leave many, many scallop shells . . . a spankingly new restaurant, Rocksalt, overlooks the harbour. Position gets a large tick, food less large tick but decent enough.

Cornelia Parker’s ‘The Folkestone Mermaid’ is now a permanent work. She looks to sea as she should. If she turned around then she’d get a view of The Old High Street with eclectic shop units – a mix of artist studios, just enough cafes and eateries unlike Hastings Old Town where it’s food door to door and none of it good.  Big enough tick to consider moving here . . .

In the library, Charles Avery has left his ‘Sea Monster’ – a mysterious beast, part horse, snake with tiny wallaby arms. Hung drawings, cartoon like but rather beautifully executed, add to the narrative of his world. I think Len would have responded well to this piece.

Myself, I  went there simply to take a walk. Charles Avery

The church in The Bayle, the oldest building in the town, houses 100  model ships - warships, trawlers, steamers, liners, brigs, rafts and junks made from cardboard. They float above the aisle suspended from the nave. Massive tick.Only mentioned but a few of the artworks. No ‘could try harder’ on this report! Loved it and will return.

Rosencrantz: We were sent for.

Guildenstern: Yes.

Rosencrantz: That’s why we’re here. (He looks round, seems doubtful, then the explanation)  Travelling.

Guildenstern: Yes.

Tom Stoppard  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

2 Responses to “serendipity – art on the coast”

  1. Cloudier Says:

    Love the runt bell being given its own space to shine and ring. And those boats in the church! My favourite I think. Sea Monster also a winner for me.

    ‘Big enough tick to consider moving here . . .’ – ???

  2. julia fogg Says:

    As I explained – I always do this. Greener pastures. The boats so very beautiful.


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