press release

The Folkestone Triennial is one of the most ambitious public art projects presented in the UK.

Located in the seaside town of Folkestone on the south-east coast of England, artists are invited to use the town as their ‘canvas’, utilising public spaces to create striking new pieces that reflect issues affecting both the town and the wider world.

The Triennial takes place every three years and is the flagship project of the Creative Foundation, a charity based in Folkestone which is leading a large scale renewal of the old town area close to the scenic harbour. Since beginning its work in the area, the Creative Foundation has redeveloped over 60 buildings on Tontine Street and the Old High Street, breathing life into previously uninhabitable dwellings and providing attractive work and living space for creative tenants.

The Triennial is one of the most ambitious public art projects ever to be presented in the UK. 19 international artists have been invited to develop new works for Folkestone’s streets, squares, beaches and historic buildings to create a cutting-edge contemporary art exhibition in the public domain.

Andrea Schlieker conceived and curated the project in 2008. She will also direct the Triennial throughout the Summer of 2011. The Triennial is open from 25 June – 25 September 2011.

The full list of commissions is as follows:


Title: Carrancas and Reflected Archaeology,

Tonico Lemos Auad presents a series of Carrancas boat figureheads which will be installed around Folkestone Harbour. These figureheads are more usually found on riverboats in northeast Brazil and used as symbolic talismans to protect sailors. There will also be a silver ink covered wallpaper installation that acts as a giant scratch card. Visitors can draw their own messages and reveal images of processions in Brazil and Folkestone itself.


Title: The Sea Monster

Charles Avery will create a 20 foot long sea monster; a four-limbed, hooven, long-tailed beast that appears to be a hybrid of horse, snake, fish and wallaby. The huge creature will rest on the floor of a large room in Folkestone’s Library.


Title: The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories

This Mumbai-based collective has collaborated with the National Coastwatch over the course of a year, inviting the volunteers to collect data, contributing to CAMP’s research into the shipping trade, tourism and fishing. This information will form the basis of a film script, which will be acted out by National Coastwatch volunteers and be shown as a series of short episodes.


Title: Work No. 1196

Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed will create a sonic work for Folkestone’s Leas Lift, one of only four water-balanced funicular lifts still working in the country. The piece will be recorded with the renowned Kent-based Sacconi String Quartet and will mirror the lifts’ ascent and descent.


Title: Out of Tune

A K Dolven will suspend a 16th-century ‘Tenor Bell’ from a steel cable at a height of 20m, between two steel beams placed 30m apart, right on the edge of the sea. The bell can be rung by visitors using a rope, allowing it to contrast and interact with the eight-bell carillon of the nearby Parish Church of St Mary and St Eanswythe.


Title: School

Smadar Dreyfus presents a complex audio-video installation which will immerse the viewer in a series of lessons, including citizenship, history, bible studies and biology, recorded in schools in her native Tel Aviv. They are experienced in a suite of seven rooms in a former office building in Folkestone’s town centre.


Title: Al-Khawaga and Johnny Stories

Hala Elkoussy will create a ‘reading room’ in an empty retail unit, filled with historical documents, photographs, maps, music as well as a specially made film, all relating to Egypt’s colonial past, and highlighting the complex urban, political and historical entity that is Cairo.


Title: We Could Have Been Anything That We Wanted To Be

Scottish artist Ruth Ewan will introduce a revolutionary element to Folkestone by introducing ten decimal clocks across the town, in locations from the town hall to a local taxi, telling French revolutionary time. By inserting new clock mechanisms and creating decimalized clock faces she subtly pastes this historical notion of time into Folkestone’s day-to day life.


Title: The Colour of Water

Spencer Finch has observed the ever-changing tone and colour of the English Channel over a number of weeks and has created a palette of colours that have been used to dye a hundred flags and create a special colour wheel. Each day an observer will use the wheel to choose a flag whose colour most closely reflects the colour of the sea, and then hoist the flag at midday on one of four flag poles in the centre of the town.


Title: 31 Walks From Water to Water 1971–2010

Fulton will install a large map indicating 33 water-related walks he has made across the British Isles and western Europe over his 40-year career, from coast to coast, river to river, and coast to river. A poster displaying one of Fulton’s trademark text-works about his recent Kent walks will be posted around town throughout the Triennial.


Title: Towards the Sound of Wilderness

Cristina Iglesias will create a large mirrored structure on the ramparts of Martello 4, one of a number of towers built as defense against Napoleonic invasion. The reflective walk-in structure has walls of invented vegetation leading to a window that opens up a view of the overgrown tower, offering the illusion of a secret entrance into another world.


Title: Promised Land

Nikolaj B. S. Larsen will create a 50-minute, three-screen video installation focusing on a number of migrants living in camps near Calais on the last leg of a long and dangerous journey from their war- and poverty-ridden home countries, including Iran and Afghanistan, to Britain. Larsen’s piece creates a portrait of their utopian vision of Britain – the destination they risk their lives to reach.


Title: For Those In Peril On The Sea

A large-scale installation consisting of around 100 model ships – warships, trawlers, steamers, liners, coasters, whalers, brigs, rafts, as well as dhows and junks – collected from around the world as well as made of cardboard, will be suspended from the nave of St Mary and St Eanswythe Church, the oldest building in Folkestone.


Title: The Folkestone Mermaid

Cornelia Parker will create a Folkestone version of one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, Copenhagen’s ‘Little Mermaid’, by creating a life-sized bronze cast of local resident Georgina Baker, sited in a space between the sandy beach and the picturesque harbour.


Title: Are Dreams Hallucinations During Sleep or Hallucinations Waking Dreams?

Olivia Plender is producing a work crossing several disciplines: performance, video and graphic novel. Plender will install a video installation of a filmed workshop featuring local amateur dramatic groups exploring mysticism and colonialism in Folkestone. The film will be screened daily in the Masonic Hall’s Great Lodge Room, where access is normally restricted to Lodge members only.


Title: Lighthouse in the Sea of Time

Zineb Sedira’s multi-screen film installation will highlight the remote and often inhospitable position of two extraordinary and historic lighthouses in Algeria. The film will be shown in a large hall carved into the cliff face high above the sea, locked up for many years, and now open to the public for the first time for this artwork.


Title: Boutique Kosovo

Erzen Shkololli will open a shop, ‘Boutique Kosovo’, in the cobblestoned Old High Street in Folkestone’s old town. The shop will house an eclectic collection of Kosovan folkloric and ritual clothes, collected over a two year period of travelling. These garments, now almost obsolete, were worn at special occasions like birth, marriage and death, and are intricately connected to Kosovan national identity. A limited edition of specially made, traditional shirts will be available to buy.


Title: Everywhere Means Something To Someone

Strange Cargo is creating an illustrated alternative guide book to their home town of Folkestone. The A6 pocketbook presents unobserved and hidden sites of local and personal interest compiled after many months of work with the community and local residents. The booklet encapsulates their reflections on what makes a site into a memorable place. It will be accompanied by discrete acrylic text plaques which will be fixed in their respective locations.


Title: Rug People

Paloma Varga Weisz’s five-headed sculpture, its body wrapped in blankets and cardboard, appears stranded and forlorn. Arrived as if by magic, the group huddles together on a carpet that covers the disused railway tracks of the old harbour railway station.

Folkestone Triennial 2011
A Million Miles from Home
Künstlerische Leitung: Andrea Schlieker

Künstler: Tonico Lemos Auad, Charles Avery,  CAMP , Martin Creed, A K Dolven, Smadar Dreyfus, Hala Elkoussy, Ruth Ewan, Spencer Finch, Hamish Fulton, Cristina Iglesias, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, Hew Locke, Cornelia Parker, Olivia Plender, Zineb Sedira, Erzen Shkololli, Strange Cargo , Paloma Varga Weisz.