Green Ted


August 2021

Green Ted Folkestone

Gormley, Cornelia Parker, Emin Paloma Varga Weisz

Our first night away from home since the Covid restrictions began in April 2020. One night at the bizarrely nautical Grand Burstin Hotel, Folkestone. The town is running what seems to be a perpetual visual arts festival and has four sculpture trails mapped. I was particularly interested in three:
A Gormley under the — well, it's not a pier, more of a harbour wall;
Folkestone's equivalent of the Copenhagen mermaid; and
A series of small Emins, Baby Things.

Antony Gormley, Another Time XVIII, 2013

Cat. 5,691-92

Green Ted and Gormley, Another Time Green Ted and Gormley, Another Time

There is no easy way to include GT in this as the piece is chained off and the floor hazardous. I might try again next time.

Another Time 1999-2013 is a series of one hundred solid cast-iron figures, destined to be dispersed around the world. The artist has loaned three for Folkestone Triennial (two sited in Folkestone and one, in a collaboration with Turner Contemporary, in Margate in front of the Gallery). The artist intends them to “bear witness to what it is like to be alive and alone in space and time” and to “celebrate the still and silent nature of sculpture. The work is designed to be placed within the flow of lived time.” – all three figures stand within the ebb and flow of the tide, at times partly inundated.
Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space, developing the potential in sculpture since the 1960s through critical engagement with his own and other’s bodies. His work confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.
His work has been widely exhibited internationally, with exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, London (2016); Forte di Belvedere, Florence (2015); Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2014); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia (2012); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012); The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2010); Hayward Gallery, London (2007); Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (1993) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (1989). Permanent public works include the Angel of the North (Gateshead, England), Another Place (Crosby Beach, England) and Chord (MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA).
Gormley was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999, the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007, the Obayashi Prize in 2012 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2013. Antony Gormley was born in London in 1950.

Cornelia Parker, Folkestone Mermaid, 2011
overlooking the beach

Cat. 5,693-94

Green Ted and Cornelia Parker,
Folkestone Mermaid Green Ted and Cornelia Parker,
Folkestone Mermaid
Parker has created a Folkestone version of one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, Copenhagen’s ‘Little Mermaid’. All women of Folkestone were offered the opportunity to model for the mermaid. Through a process of open submission, Parker chose Georgina Baker, mother of two and Folkestone born and bred. Unlike the idealised Copenhagen version, 'The Folkestone Mermaid' is a life-size, life-cast sculpture, celebrating the local and the everyday. Parker’s mermaid, a more confident and knowing lady of the sea than Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale one, is a permanent work for Folkestone.
Parker has become known for her installations and interventions, including ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’ (1991), where she suspended the fragments of a garden shed, blown up for her by the British Army; and ‘The Maybe’, a collaboration with actress Tilda Swinton, at the Serpentine Gallery in 1995. She wrapped Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’ with a mile of a string to make a new work ‘The Distance (a kiss with string attached)’ for her contribution to the Tate Triennial (2003).
Cornelia Parker was awarded an OBE in 2010 and was a Turner Prize nominee in 1997.

Tracey Emin, Baby Things, 2008
Central Station

Cat. 5,695-7

Green Ted and Tracey Emin, Baby Things Green Ted and Tracey Emin, Baby Things Green Ted and Tracey Emin, Baby Things

I might photograph some more of the series next time, but this the most appropriate. The camera focused on the brick wall for the first — my fault.

Tracey Emin’s art is one of disclosure, using events from her personal life as inspiration for her work. Baby Things, Emin’s perfect bronze simulacra of baby clothes can be found tucked underneath benches, hanging from railings and lying by a kerb. Exuding an aura of the forlorn and dejected, they are poignant reminders of Folkestone’s high teenage pregnancy rate, which is similar to that of Margate, Emin’s home town.

Paloma Varga Weisz, Rug People, 2011
Harbour Station

Cat. 5,698-5701

Green Ted and Rug People Green Ted and Rug People Green Ted and Rug People Green Ted and Rug People

Encountered in the Gormley Hunt.

Varga Weisz’s five-headed sculpture Rug People, its body wrapped in blankets and cardboard, appears stranded and forlorn. Arrived as if by magic, the group huddles together on the disused railway tracks of the old Harbour Station. The Station, with its history of bringing First World War soldiers to the harbour to embark to France, as well as being the terminus for the Orient Express until 2008, provided the major inspiration for Varga Weisz’s work.
The Harbour Station has witnessed the full range of human experiences and emotions. As the Kent terminus for the Orient Express it saw many excited travellers indulging in some up-market leisure time, but it was also a place of unimaginable fears and foreboding as the final stop in Britain for the soldiers destined for the battlefields of Europe in the First World War. The station’s platforms and tracks are the last vestiges of this unique history and the inspiration for Rug People. The ghostly echoes of the orient seem especially poignant to the artist, since on her journey to Folkestone she witnessed the refugee camps in Calais sheltering those fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and beyond.
As her artist father was forced out of Nazi-occupied Paris during the Second World War, escaping from war and persecution is part of Varga Weisz’s own family history. This group of five unusual passengers seems to have magically arrived from some unknown fairy tale, but the voyagers are downcast, wrapped in blankets and rugs and huddled together: this group is not on some carefree journey, but seemingly stranded. This sense of abandonment is reinforced by the sculpture’s base made from sticks, rugs and cardboard which echoes the precarious shelters of migrants and the homeless.