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Cristina Iglesias

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Cristina Iglesias’s architectural intervention on the ramparts of Martello 4 offers the illusion of an entrance into another world. The sculpture allows visitors a chance to view this historic monument which remained hidden by a screen of trees and shrubs for many years. Visitors need to negotiate a path cut through the shrubs and trees to find a mirrored walk-in structure clad with resin foliage. A window at the end of this passageway opens up a view of the tower, overgrown by ivy, and the moat with its extraordinary wildlife.

The Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias has long been fascinated by mazes, labyrinths and mirrors and therefore with locations that encourage tricks of perception, losing your way and making serendipitous discoveries. For the 2011 Folkestone Triennial she uncovered a long lost ‘secret garden’. At the highest point of The Leas, at its west end, there is a dense cluster of foliage of what looks like an overgrown shrub or tree protruding above the surrounding buildings. Hidden behind this abundance of foliage is one of Folkestone’s Martello towers, built in 1806 to protect a feared invasion from Napoleonic France which never materialized. The tower was inaccessible for many years behind dense vegetation engulfing the walls, ramparts and surrounding moat. Nature appears to have stealthily conquered a structure that was built for manmade defence.

But Iglesias has made a subtle human intrusion into this microcosm of untamed wildlife. She has designed a platform that allows visitors to peer into this secret world whilst the structure of her sculpture itself remains camouflaged amongst the surrounding foliage due to its reflective coating of stainless steel.

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