The fourth Folkestone Triennial festival opens this weekend, making the town once again a showcase for the arts world. Since 2008, the Folkestone Triennial has established itself as one of the major international contemporary arts shows bringing large numbers of visitors to the town. This year the Triennial’s curator, Lewis Biggs, has selected ‘double edge’ as the theme for the show. In this case, ‘double edge’ refers to the idea of being on the frontier of the unknown, and also the reflections of artists from having crossed the ‘edge’ and looking back on that journey. As in previous years, the theme for the Triennial is inspired by the town, and the idea of art based around change and transition seems to be particularly appropriate.
There is no doubt that the regeneration of the harbour area and old town of Folkestone, led by the Creation Foundation, has gathered pace over the last decade. Many new businesses, homes, and venues have been created that have brought more people into Folkestone, and given everyone an opportunity to enjoy what the town has to offer. With the completion of the next phase of the regeneration of the harbour arm and former railway station, and the prospect of the imminent start of construction of the Folkestone seafront development, the town is certainly on the edge of a period of exciting and dynamic change.
Once again, the Triennial has commissioned work from some of the world’s leading artists, including Anthony Gormley, the creator of the Angel of the North, and the stunning sculpture in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, of the figure of a man suspended above the first tomb of St Thomas Becket, and made entirely out of iron nails. The new triennial commissions sit alongside the works in the permanent Folkestone Artworks collection, featuring the familiar pieces by artist like Tracey Emin, Nathan Coley and Mark Wallinger. Some of the works for this new Triennial will also prove to be un-missable, and particularly Sinta Tantra’s stunning transformation of The Cube building on Tontine Street. There will also be a large programme of fantastic events throughout the triennial period organised by the Folkestone Fringe, and you can find out more about these at their website www.folkestonefringe.com
I would like to congratulate Lewis Biggs, Alastair Upton and everyone at the Creative Foundation for their work in preparing for the Triennial. Also, thanks to the principal supporters of the Triennial, the Roger De Haan charitable trust, Arts Council England, the Oak Foundation and Kent and Shepway councils, and to SAGA who are the main sponsors. I hope you get the chance to enjoy the triennial and the fringe events, from this Saturday, until the end of the show on 5th November.