phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Spotlight On: Turner Contemporary in Margate

Spotlight On: Turner Contemporary in Margate

16 May 2018 | Katie Da Cunha Lewin

Turner Contemporary gallery opened in 2011 in the seaside town of Margate in Kent. Designed by world-renowned architect, Sir David Chipperfield, the gallery is located next to the harbour and sits in striking contrast to the surrounding architecture.

The gallery takes its name from celebrated painter J.M.W. Turner. Though a London native, after Turner’s mother became increasingly unwell from mental illness, he was sent away to various places in the UK, including to school in Margate. Margate then became a safe haven for the painter, and he regularly spent time there from the 1820s, later becoming a frequent guest to a house owned by a woman named Mrs Booth, who was both his landlady and, as the years went on, his companion. Turner died in Margate in 1851. For the prolific painter, Margate provided the most beautiful and inspiring skies for works that often represented the coastal landscape and the sea.  In homage to Turner, the gallery is now situated in the same place where Mrs Booth’s guest house once stood, providing a link between the Margate of old and new.

Image Credit: only lines via Flickr

The gallery was the aspiration of local resident John Crofts who wanted to create a space dedicated to Turner’s legacy in the seaside town. Along with other residents of Margate, he planned a centre that would not only highlight this historic link, but also offer a contemporary art programme. The Turner Contemporary was officially established in 2001.
The building itself is remarkable for its spaciousness, its use of light and for its views of the harbour and the sea.  Architect Sir David Chipperfield responded to Turner’s famous use of light by incorporating lots of glass into the design of the building. The gallery is made up of six equally-sized glass rooms over two floors. These rooms are naturally lit by huge glass windows, so the maritime weather becomes central to the experience of being in the gallery.

Though the gallery is undoubtedly intertwined with the legacy of one of Britain’s most celebrated painters, it also hosts a rolling programme of exhibitions of work from home and abroad. Since August 2017 for example, the gallery has hosted a sculpture that makes use of its idiosyncratic locale. Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Time’ is a project of 100 solitary figures, who have been transported and installed in galleries around the world. One of these individual statues stands on Fulsam Rock and is, for much of the day, submerged in the sea itself. The statue is only visible around 3 hours before low tide but the gallery website provides a timetable so visitors can plan accordingly.  This lonely cast iron figure looks further out to the sea, seemingly contemplating its position on the rock, whilst also stoically enduring its daily immersion in the water.

Image Credit: ij clark via Flickr

The gallery also hosts the work of two contemporary Chinese artists, Yin Xiuzhen and Duan Jianyu, as a part of a collaborative programme NOW. This programme aims to highlight the work created by female artists in modern-day China and is created in collaboration with a host of other galleries including the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester and the Nottingham Contemporary.  Visitors can view Yin Xiuzhen’s installation entitled ‘Digestive Cavity’ and a small group of Duan Jianyu’s large scale paintings. Both exhibitions draw attention to the interesting and important work currently being undertaken by a new generation of Chinese artists.

Turner Contemporary is in Margate. Entrance free.
 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

A Weekend Away in Winchester

A Weekend Away in Winchester

There are few cities in the UK which have so much history packed into such a small space as Winchester. Did you know it was…

Opening exhibitions at Charleston in South Downs

Opening exhibitions at Charleston in South Downs

Discover the Charleston Trust's brand new exhibition space with their programme of thought-provoking and innovative exhibitions

Top 5 Cafes and Coffee Shops in Leeds

Top 5 Cafes and Coffee Shops in Leeds

Looking for the perfect spot to snuggle up and enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake in Leeds? Then look no further. The…

Spice Up Your Life: Britain’s Top Curries

Spice Up Your Life: Britain’s Top Curries

We’re a nation that loves a Sunday roast, fish and chips, and a fluffy Victoria sponge. However, one of the country’s most popular dishes is a…

Top 5 Roasts in Dorset

Top 5 Roasts in Dorset

There’s no better way to kick back on a Sunday than with a hearty roast dinner. Whether you’ve been wandering the Jurassic Coast or enjoying one of…

Bristol Begins its Venture as the Newest UNESCO City of Film

Bristol Begins its Venture as the Newest UNESCO City of Film

Last week saw Bristol officially launched as a UNESCO city of film, as part of the organisations network of creative cities. The announcement cements Bristol…

A Cultural Guide to Liverpool

A Cultural Guide to Liverpool

Despite tumultuous periods, and a down-at-heel reputation, in recent years Liverpool has transformed to become one of the country’s most exciting cities. A UNESCO world heritage…

Edinburgh Art Festival: An Interview with Sorcha Carey

Edinburgh Art Festival: An Interview with Sorcha Carey

Edinburgh has plunged into its annual August madness, as it plays hosts to numerous festivals over the month, from the Fringe Festival to the International…

Top 5 Historical Facts About Colchester

Top 5 Historical Facts About Colchester

Sitting at the gateway to East Anglia, Colchester is one of Britain’s foremost historic towns, the first capital of Britain and ‘Britain’s Oldest Recorded Town’, as well…

‘Bomberg’ Exhibition Comes to Pallant House Gallery

‘Bomberg’ Exhibition Comes to Pallant House Gallery

Pallant House Gallery present a major exhibition of David Bomberg (1890 – 1957), marking the 60th anniversary of his death.

Most popular

“Art and life imitating each other”: An Interview with Richard Twyman

“Art and life imitating each other”: An Interview with Richard Twyman

We chatted to Director Richard Twyman, about English Touring Theatre’s latest production of Othello, which re-analyses the classic play through the lens of religion and spirituality.
“Radical, unconventional and international… much like the artists who lived here”

“Radical, unconventional and international… much like the artists who lived here”

The Bloomsbury Group may be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean their work and relevance has to be. In this spirit, Charleston House in East Sussex has opened an exhibition space filled with work inspired by the work of the renowned artistic group!
Windsor, Booze and Running Shoes: An Interview with Holly Light

Windsor, Booze and Running Shoes: An Interview with Holly Light

Think a beer (or two) at the finish line would make you run a bit faster? Then the British Beer Run is the event for you! We chatted to Holly Light from AAT Events about the upcoming race in Windsor on 13 October.
The Trocks on Tour!

The Trocks on Tour!

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s drag race, and also a dance devotee, then you’ll love Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Catch the all-male comedic ballet company as they tour the UK through till November!
Films to look forward to from Venice Film Festival!

Films to look forward to from Venice Film Festival!

Why not check out our summary of what films to (and what not to!) look forward to from the Venice Biennale? With many of the films soon to be streamed on Netflix, you’ll soon be able to get a taste of the world’s oldest film festival right from your sofa!
Gardens just don’t lose their charm for artists!

Gardens just don’t lose their charm for artists!

The Enchanted Garden at Newcastle’s Laing Gallery explores how gardens have been an ongoing inspiration through 100 years of art history. We chatted to curator Amy Barker to learn more about the artists who have flirted with fauna and flora in their work.
Stones Rock! – Top 5 Shingle Beaches in the UK

Stones Rock! – Top 5 Shingle Beaches in the UK

Tomorrow (16 September) is collect rocks day, so why not become a geologist and pick up some pebbles from one of the UK’s Top 5 stone and shingle beaches in our handy guide? We’re sure they will rock your world!
“A homecoming gig”: An Interview with Jimmy Aldridge

“A homecoming gig”: An Interview with Jimmy Aldridge

We chatted to musician Jimmy Aldridge from “Jimmy and Sid” about the folk duo’s latest album, and their upcoming gig in Leeds – where Jimmy bought his first banjo!
“You want to try and come up with a universal Trunch for everybody…”

“You want to try and come up with a universal Trunch for everybody…”

Today is Roald Dahl Day, and as we speak, Miss. Trunchbull, the headmistress we’re glad we never had, is making her way across the country for the UK Tour of Matilda! We chatted to Craige Els who plays Trunch about what it’s like to be the iconic villain!
Top 5 Swashbuckling Pirate Adventures in the UK

Top 5 Swashbuckling Pirate Adventures in the UK

Shiver me timbers, next Wednesday (19 September) is Talk Like a Pirate Day! There “argh!” plenty of events to help you to get into character before the celebrations, so grab your cutlass and head to one of the best swashbuckling activities around the UK!

Your inbox deserves a little culture!