The Folkestone Triennial opens to the public today, July 22, in the British seaside town of the same name.
For the fifth edition of the town’s triennial of public art (through November 2), organizers have commissioned 23 works by 25 artists. Curated by Lewis Biggs, who founded the Liverpool Biennial, this year’s edition is titled “The Plot.”
The triennial was postponed last year for logistical reasons, but Biggs said the pandemic context has made people “more willing to slow down and take notice of their physical surroundings,” adding that the public is “searching for [the] color and life-affirmation” that the exhibition offers.
“Following a year of lockdowns, stress and anxiety for everyone, it feels like there is a renewed energy here in Folkestone,” said Alastair Upton, the chief executive of Creative Folkestone, which organizes the triennial. “Collectively we are ready to welcome people back to the town: a place that is proud of its independence, resilience and creativity.”
Among the works on view is a flaming “Climate Emergency Services” van by artist Mike Stubbs, which offers a warning that feels apt during the U.K.’s current searing heat wave, and a series of tongue-in-cheek billboards by Gilbert & George, such as a poster designating a “good behavior zone.”
Meanwhile, minimalist benches by Richard Deacon have been installed in Kingsport Gardens, Jacqui Poncelet has created surreptitious peepholes in a wall with a kaleidoscopic view onto the former site of the town’s gasworks, and the Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum has given colorful new life to a slew of beach huts on Lower Saxon Way.
See more images of the 2021 Folkestone Triennial below.