Pilar Quinteros, Cathedral of Freedom, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.
The series of art commissions connecting outstanding arts organisations and landscape along the South East coast, runs from 16 April until 8 November 2020.
Led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent, this pioneering partnership sees Cement Fields, Creative Folkestone, the De La Warr Pavilion, Hastings Contemporary, Metal, Turner Contemporary and Towner Eastbourne coming together for the first time to present Waterfronts - seven outdoor art commissions each situated on and made in response to the Essex, Kent and East Sussex coastlines. The partnership will also launch the world’s first art GeoTour.
England’s Creative Coast launches in Margate on 16 April 2020 with the first of the Waterfronts commissions, April is the cruellest month by the Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz, together with new geocaches created by local people. The first commission will open on Turner Contemporary's ninth birthday, marking nine years to the day since the gallery opened in 2011.
The project is principally funded by Arts Council England and Visit England through the Discover England Fund. Over the course of spring and summer in 2020, the England’s Creative Coast trail will be revealed, with each partner arts organisation launching a Waterfronts commission and their part of the GeoTour:
Saturday, 23 May – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea presents Holly Hendry: Invertebrate
Hastings Contemporary presents Andreas Angelidakis: Seawall
Saturday, 6 June – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
Creative Folkestone presents Pilar Quinteros: Janus’ Fortress Folkestone
Saturday, 13 June – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
Towner Eastbourne presents Mariana Castillo Deball (title to be confirmed)
Saturday, 25 July – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
Cement Fields in Gravesend presents Jasleen Kaur: The first thing I did was to kiss the ground
Metal in Southend-on-Sea presents Katrina Palmer: Hello and Retreat
Spanning 1400km of shoreline from the South Downs to the Thames Estuary, this beautiful and dramatic landscape has inspired artists for centuries. England’s Creative Coast offers visitors the chance to explore seaside towns alive with creativity, the breath-taking coastal landscape, thought-provoking art commissions and geocaches created by the communities that live there in a digital treasure trail that extends into the surrounding landscape.
Sarah Dance, Project Director of England’s Creative Coast, explains her vision for the project:
“England’s Creative Coast is about connections — connecting people to places, artists with the coast, creative organisations with landscape and with each other, and visitors to the history of the people and places on the coast. Ultimately, it is about using the power of partnership to forge human connections: allowing people to explore a place, an artwork, and its community, together.”
England’s Creative Coast links the cultural destinations across this region for the first time, encouraging visitors to move to and between these distinctive places, now easier to reach with improved rail links such as Southeastern’s High Speed service from London.
Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary, says:
“We’re delighted to be leading this innovative project across Kent, Essex and East Sussex. As we approach our 10th anniversary year in 2021, Turner Contemporary has demonstrated that art plays a vital role in driving social and economic regeneration. This major cultural tourism project spans a large geographical area, connecting people and places through a series of ambitious public art commissions. Through collaborations with artists, galleries, arts organisations and tourism providers, England’s Creative Coast celebrates the cultural richness of the South East and the importance of creativity, which is vital for developing skills, tourism and the economy as a whole.”
Curated by Tamsin Dillon, the Waterfronts art commissions explore the liminal space between land and water on this natural and political border of the South East of the UK. The seven internationally recognised artists bring their own perspectives to these specific places, each with its own layered histories and complexities.
“Each artist has taken a combination of facts, stories, issues, questions, subjects, topics and histories — whether social, natural or geological — as inspiration for a new work. The works themselves reflect the artists’ interest in or response to the shifting and unstable nature of many social, political, and ecological situations across the world.”
About the artists
Andreas Angelidakis (b. 1968, Athens)
In Hastings, Hastings Contemporary presents Seawall by Andreas Angelidakis. For Waterfronts, Angelidakis is considering the encroaching ocean and the ongoing discussion around climate change, coastal erosion and the physical and political impact this has on a place as inspiration for his new work. He will use the human response to flooding through the invention sea defence mechanisms to ask, ‘can
the border between land and sea become a habitable place?’
Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975, Mexico City)
In Eastbourne, Towner Eastbourne presents Mariana Castillo Deball. Deball’s diverse, kaleidoscopic practice combines visual art with archaeology, science and history to make installations, performances, sculptures and text-based pieces. She focuses on different forms and languages to reveal the role of objects and stories in our histories and identities. For Waterfronts, Deball will draw on both the ancient
and more recent geological and social history of the area to create some new walking routes linking the town with the neighbouring South Downs.
Holly Hendry (b. 1990, London)
In Bexhill-on-Sea, the De La Warr Pavilion presents Holly Hendry. Hendry makes sculptures and installations that give physical form to ideas around emptiness, edges, absence, flatness, fakes and forgeries. For Waterfronts, Hendry will investigate the precise boundary between land and water and the impact on one by the other. Her new work outside the Pavilion will connect with a simultaneous exhibition of her work inside the building.
Jasleen Kaur (b. 1986, Glasgow)
In North Kent, Cement Fields presents Jasleen Kaur. Kaur’s work reconsiders the realities of materiality, usage and daily routine within the everyday things that surround us. Her refashioned objects are based on instinct and resourcefulness, reflecting a hybridity of national custom. Kaur’s new work for Waterfronts will be a response to the connections between the diverse communities in Gravesend and also forms part of Estuary 2020.
Katrina Palmer (b. 1967, London)
In Southend-on-Sea, Metal presents Katrina Palmer. Palmer works with stories that are distributed across found sites, audio environments, printed matter and performance. For Waterfronts, Palmer will explore and investigate the areas in and around Southend-on-Sea and look to reveal the way they are shaped by cultural, political, emotional and mechanical forces. This work will also form part of Estuary 2020.
Pilar Quinteros (b. 1988, Santiago)
In Folkestone, Creative Folkestone presents Pilar Quinteros. Quinteros’ work is underpinned by an abiding interest in public spaces, the way they function and the diversity of human behaviour within them. She experiments with both structure and material, testing the boundaries, resilience and resistance of fragile and unstable materials. For Waterfronts, Quinteros presents Janus’ Fortress Folkestone, a new
multifaceted work which is also part of Folkestone Triennial 2020.
Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York)
Nasher Prize for Sculpture winner and Fourth Plinth artist, Rakowitz’s practice draws on the histories of buildings and objects, frequently revealing stories and connections between people and places from different times and places. For Waterfronts, Rakowitz will focus on connecting the social and geological histories of Margate, exploring coastal borders as places of conflict and migration, by linking the Kent seaside town with the Iraqi port of Basra in a new work entitled April is the cruellest month.