I last reported on the Folkestone Triennial in 2017 which, as you can probably work out, was four years ago. The accursed Covid-19 put paid to the event in 2020, so it got shifted to 2021. I totally forgot about this until a few days ago, despite me having plenty of warning from the organisers.
This excellent art festival runs for four months from the end of July to very early November, normally every three years. So, even though I had all that time to organise myself, I only had a couple of days left to see it before it finished. This didn’t leave me much time, even though one of those days gifted me an extra hour, i.e. the clocks went back. Therefore, my usually well-researched visit was reduced to a last-minute sprint down the M20.
Without my carefully planned route to see everything at the Triennial, the day turned into more of an aimless meander punctuated by an excellent lunch at the Harbour Fish Bar. As a result I probably only saw half of what was on show, despite me walking an admirable 18,000 steps according to the very clever app on my i-phone. Although it wasn’t quite smart enough to take account of me stuffing my face with a battered haddock, large chips, curry sauce and several rounds of bread and butter on the side.
I think most of those calculated steps were those I took up a very big hill to see a massive chalk sculpture of Janus, God of Politicians (and anybody else who is naturally blessed with two faces). Unfortunately, neither face was there to greet me. A key feature of the sculpture is that the weather would erode it over the duration of the Triennial…which indeed it had. If I had done my research in advance I wouldn’t have climbed the equivalent of Everest to see a small mound of chalk crumbs.
Other highlights, although not quite as high as the chalk pile, included a row of beach huts that have been painted in dazzling colours. Okay, so that may not sound that inspiring but I am a man looking at retiring to the seaside one day, and I’m easily distracted by anything bright and shiny.
There was also an interesting sculpture produced by Jason Wilsher-Mills, an artist that became paralysed from the neck down as a result of contracting chickenpox at the age of 11. I thought I had it bad when I got chickenpox during my A-Levels. I tried to use it as an excuse for my piss-poor results, but the Head of the Sixth Form correctly surmised that my late teenage discoveries of drink, drugs and sex had more to do with it. As I say, I’m easily distracted
The Triennial runs until tomorrow. If you don’t make it then you will have to wait another three years. I’ve put it in my diary this time.