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Lookout…..Hestia get all arty….

Lookout…..Hestia get all arty….

Folkestone Triennial 2014

We’re clearly not known for our artistic talent or knowledge at Hestia so we decided we should get with it a bit and booked on to one of the Folkestone Triennial walking tours last Sunday. What did we discover……..?

Lookout is the third Folkestone Triennial exhibition with 21 specially commissioned artworks placed all over town adding to some of the permanent artworks from the previous exhibitions. We met our friendly tour guide at the visitor centre at the bottom of the old high street towing along our 16 year old who would probably have preferred to be playing Fifa on his x-box but was on the promise of a roast dinner if he came on the walk too!!

The walking tour

The walking tour was excellent, a really fun way to explore parts of Folkestone that we haven’t even seen before (we’ve been in Folkestone for nearly 10 years!!!) and the route we took showcased Folkestone at it’s best. Starting at the bottom of the Old High Street we walked around past the Hotel Burstin taking in the sight of Gabriel Lester’s ‘The Electrified Line’ – that’s the bizarre bamboo structure near Rocksalt, and also Alex Hartley’s portaledges on the side of the Burstin hotel called ‘Vigil’. The bamboo sculpture is quite magnificent and set against the harbour railway viaduct offers some great picture opportunities. Vigil looks like a protest on the side of the Burstin hotel but the concept of the artist and volunteers looking out from their lofty perch and blogging about what they see in a voyeuristic way is very clever and I’m sure offers some beautiful and memorable views for the inhabitants. (not sure I’d fancy being up there when Folkie gets a bit windy though….)

Up on the Leas

Our route took us further round past the back of the hotel and along the seafront, we took the Leas Cliff lift up to the Leas promenade and walked along to view the numerous exhibits situated along this stunning stretch of the town. Firstly, (and I have to say for me one of my favourite pieces) was one of the rootoftwo ‘Whithervanes’ found on top of the Leas Cliff Hall. Being a spurs fan, I was very happy with the styling but the fact that it is an interactive artwork where the whithervanes respond to fear in real time through their monitoring of news feeds and social media I thought was really clever. If you tweet messages to @whithervanes they will respond…

Walking past Mark Wallinger’s touching ‘Folk Stones’ from one of the previous events, we came upon Will Kwan’s ‘Apparatus #9’ which is now positioned above the vinery. This is a beautiful piece that had to be moved but the new location is excellent and the chinoiserie boxes frame the Folkestone coastline beautifully giving some great picture opportunities.

The last stop on the Leas was in front of the delightful Grand hotel where Yoko Ono’s ‘Earth Peace 2014’ is located. Paying respect for those who have died for peace through the centuries, it’s an intriguing piece of art encompassing an inlaid stone on the Leas with a light and flag at the top of the Grand which flashes out a message in morse code.

A coastal stroll

Leaving the Leas we took a leisurely stroll down through the award winning coastal park which was alive with families enjoying the open space and playground. Here we took a wander around Krijn de Koning’s colourful ‘Dwelling’ on the zig zag path near the Amphitheatre before walking along the beach to view the old and new beach huts with the imposing Pablo Bronstein ‘Beach hut in the style of Nicholas Hawksmoor’ – a stunning addition to the boardwalk.

We continued along the seafront and ended our tour in the harbour where we came upon my favourite of the day, Tim Etchells’ ‘Is why the place’ and Ian Hamilton Finlay’s ‘Weather is a Third to Place and Time’. Tim Etchells’ neon sculpture is situated along the walls of the dilapidated Harbour Station – an area that I have never visited before but which I found hauntingly beautiful and peaceful.

Our tour only took in a portion of the wonderful artwork that is on show in Folkestone but was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon getting some exercise and seeing Folkestone and art in a different light. Many thanks to our tour host….I would definitely recommend getting booked on one of the tours or just get a map from the visitor centre and find Folkestone yourselves……let us know what you find.

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