Jonathan Wright, Fleet On Foot, commissioned by the Creative Foundation for Folkestone Triennial 2017. Image by Thierry Bal.
Fleet on Foot, 2017
Tontine Street is the tidal inlet on which Folkestone as a fishing village developed. The fleet consisted of seven boats when it was nominated a tributary ‘cinque port’ to Dover in 1299. The artist’s research into the history of the river Pent, now beneath Tontine Street, has led him to celebrate the seven boats currently licensed in Folkestone Harbour, and three licensed elsewhere but operating from Folkestone. Gilded replicas (3D printed) of these boats surmount poles that carry information about each boat, its captain and crew, and other references too, such as Plimsoll markings, found on shipping all over the world (Samuel Plimsoll died in Folkestone in 1898).
Jonathan Wright works with images, materials and structures derived from the fabric of modernity. But since he is also fascinated by craft techniques, his compositions using this modernist vocabulary often become mysterious and seemingly functionless through the intervention of personal and felt elements, in a personalised and romantic critique of the modernist project.
In 2012 he was awarded a 3-D Foundation residency at Verbier, Switzerland; his Hoodwink Commission for Profound Riches was at The Forum, Tunbridge Wells (2013-1016), and he was commissioned with Diane Dever to create a series of five water tower sculptures: Penthouses for Folkestone Triennial 2014.
Current projects (2017) include Constellation for The Fourth Plinth, Hove, and Harnessing Smoke, (2017), the Turner Exhibition Commission for the exhibition Legacies: JMW Turner and contemporary art practice organised by the New Art Gallery, Walsall.
Jonathan Wright’s solo exhibitions include Synthetic Rubber, Edge Projects, Herald St, London (2016); Tidemark Curious Projects, Eastbourne (2015); Shoes selection No 8 Shoes or no shoes, Kruishoutem, Belgium (2013); No Head For Heights (2011), and On Looking Up (2010), both at Strange Cargo, Folkestone; Restoration & Romance 11th Street Space, New York, (2008).
He was born in London, attended Middlesex Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, and now lives and works in Folkestone.