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New dates announced for Folkestone Triennial 2021

Rana Begum   Photo by Tom Bishop

We are delighted to announce the new dates for the fifth Folkestone Triennial, The Plot, from Thursday 22 July – Tuesday 2 November 2021. With an extended running time now spanning across the summer, everyone can safely enjoy over 20 outdoor, newly commissioned public artworks in Folkestone’s scenic coastal setting.

Following the postponement of last year's Folkestone Triennial due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Creative Folkestone team have been working on how we can safely bring back everyone's favourite art exhibition. This summer we will launch the Triennial with new ways to enjoy online as well as in real life in the great outdoors. 

Alastair Upton, Chief Executive, Creative Folkestone says: "After a year’s delay, and all that has happened in that time, we are delighted to present the return of the Folkestone Triennial this summer. Folkestone’s communities have been so supportive of each other these last twelve months and have shown incredible resilience despite being one of the hardest hit by Covid-19. The pandemic has highlighted the value of culture in our everyday lives, and now we can celebrate our town, reimagined by a brilliant line-up of artists, and show the world what Folkestone is made of."

Curated by Lewis Biggs, Folkestone Triennial 2021, The Plot, invites visitors to consider urban myths and their relation to verifiable realities: the gap between the story and the materiality. Here, new, site-specific sculptures and installations will be sited along three routes synonymous with historic Folkestone narratives. By borrowing from, or lending to, these stories, the exhibition raises questions around the correlation between tales and the urbanism of the town, calling upon a consideration of ‘place-making’.

Lewis Biggs expands: "When I started planning this exhibition and inviting wonderful artists to consider sites in the town, I couldn’t have imagined how the coming pandemic would foreground The Plot’s global themes. Ownership of the truth and of scientific method have never been more contested, as different social and economic interests battle to determine the narrative about, and reaction to, Covid-19 and its variants (as well as to the climate emergency, BLM, the US Presidential election, human rights in China etc). Perhaps more surprisingly, lockdowns, travel bans and ‘staycations’ have demonstrated just how important to our well-being is the neighbourhood outside our front doors, leading us to re-evaluate the material quality of our local environment and amenities, the corner shops and parks no less than the broadband, as being ‘vital’ rather than merely ‘desirable’."

Artists featured in Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021 include Assemble, Rana Begum, Sam Belinfante, Stephenie Bergman, Patrick Corillon, Shezad Dawood, Richard Deacon, Jacqueline Donachie, genuinefake, Gilbert & George, Tina Gverović, Mariko Hori, Christopher Houghton Budd, Atta Kwami, Morag Myerscough, Jacqueline Poncelet, Pilar Quinteros, Mike Stubbs, Jason Wilsher-Mills, Winter / Hörbelt, and HoyCheong Wong & Simon Davenport & Shahed Saleem / Makespace.

Reflecting on the town that hosts them, many of the Triennial artworks have been created with, or inspired by, Folkestone’s local communities. The notion of place as a transitory state of evolving change and renewal is revealed in works such as Jacqueline Donachie’s Beautiful Sunday, a vast dance floor and film celebrating the night-time revellers of Folkestone, honouring the social club which was once located on the site. Nearby, Turner Prize-winning multi-disciplinary collective Assemble have collaborated with local skate boarders to create a series of interactive sculptures, Skating Situations, to be used by the community. Meanwhile Rana Begum has transformed the beach huts which line more than a kilometre of promenade with an entirely new colour scheme, using compositions which play with geometry, colour and light - one of the largest and most joyful artworks in the country.

Free to enjoy and open to all, the Triennial is one of the UK’s most ambitious art exhibitions. Following its run, some works will remain as permanent additions to Creative Folkestone Artworks, which currently features 74 artworks located across the town and harbour and accessible throughout the year. Dedicated to producing and enabling the very best creative activity that has transformed Folkestone and East Kent, and continues to do so, Creative Folkestone’s mission is to make the town a better place to live, work, play and visit.

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