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The Mail on Sunday - Event - - ART - Alas­tair Smart

Folke­stone Tri­en­nial Un­til Novem­ber 5 ★★★★★

‘Take a left into Sandgate Road and you’ll see a gi­ant seagull,’ the ticket col­lec­tor at Folke­stone sta­tion tells me. ‘Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.’

The seagull in ques­tion is ac­tu­ally an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre (tak­ing the form of a huge bird), there to of­fer gen­eral di­rec­tion about the art jam­boree tak­ing over the Kent town this au­tumn.

I say ‘tak­ing over’, but the 50-odd pieces by the 20 contributing artists are ac­tu­ally scat­tered about Folke­stone rather sub­tly. So sub­tly that you would be for­given for not even notic­ing there’s a tri­en­nial on.

Amelia Pica is show­ing small, seashell sculp­tures in pub and res­tau­rant win­dows; Gary Wood­ley has painted black and white poly­he­dra on a beach­side tun­nel un­der Coro­na­tion Pa­rade; and David Shrigley has cre­ated a new lamp­post in the style of a Vic­to­rian one for the Leas prom­e­nade.

Un­for­tu­nately they’re just too small for the pur­poses of the tri­en­nial. Like a num­ber of other works, they get lost in an ex­hi­bi­tion space that is, in ef­fect, the whole of Folke­stone.

This is a well-in­ten­tioned en­ter­prise but the qual­ity of ex­pe­ri­ence is rather summed up by the ef­forts of the biggest­name artist in­volved, Antony Gorm­ley. He has in­stalled on the shore two of his trade­mark cast-iron sculp­tures of the hu­man body, which are sub­merged daily at high tide. From his 100-work series, An­other Time, they have al­ready been seen the world over.

The stand­out con­tri­bu­tion is Hol­i­day Home by Richard Woods, a set of six brightly coloured replica houses. Empty in­side and found at sur­pris­ing spots around town – such as float­ing in the har­bour wa­ter – they serve as a com­ment on the cul­ture of out­siders vo­ra­ciously buy­ing up lo­cal prop­erty as sec­ond homes.

One of Antony Gorm­ley’s cast-iron sculp­tures from An­other Time

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