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Head to the Turner Contemporary this Summer

9 July 2019 | Maisy Farren

Heralded Shoreditch-on-Sea, Margate is a seaside resort teeming with arts and the Turner Contemporary is the epicentre of this revolution. A previously derelict seaside town, Margate is now the face of a revival.

Creatives from London and surrounding areas have flocked to the town to experience its retro charm, kitsch attractions and artistic inspiration. Amongst a host of independent galleries and unique art shops, the Turner Contemporary sits atop the seafront like a shiny penny, the glass building glistening in the sun. Head to the gallery this summer to experience the best of what Margate has to offer… 

 


Catch two of the galleries famed exhibits before you even step through the door. Visible three hours before low tide, Antony Gormley’s sculpture Another Time can be seen retreating into the sea. The cast iron figure has been installed on Margate’s coastline since 2017 and has recently received confirmation that it’s sticking around until November next year (2020). This instillation is one of hundreds of figures dotted around the world. Heading up the steps into the gallery, you’ll also find a collaboration with schools across East Kent. In collaboration with the galleries theme of the seaside, teenagers across the county have worked on the creative rearrangement of cloth, fabric and decorative tools to customise their own individual deckchairs (available until 5 September 2019). 
 

Image credit: Turner Contemporary via Facebook
This support of the county’s young talent continues in the galleries Clore Learning Studio, on the first floor. The Art Rebels exhibition can be viewed until 8 September 2019 and is an amazing display of rule bending work from students aged 4-18. Pieces that won the competition or came highly commended by the gallery can see their work hung in the stunning Clore Learning Studio, where floor to ceiling windows offer a remarkable view out to sea. The work is of a calibre way beyond the student’s years, and each wonderful piece displays the artistic talent of the county’s young budding artists. 
 

Image credit: Turner Contemporary via Facebook
Heading over the wide first floor balcony you come to the main exhibition space, which is currently showing Seaside: Photographed until 8 September 2019. This expertly curated selection of photographic works is a snapshot of the seaside in times gone by, a nostalgic look into the British culture of the coast. Displaying everything from sepia snaps of the Victorian seaside, through pictures of Butlins in the 70s and leading right up to a modern day look at a night out in a seaside town, the exhibition offers something for anyone who’s ever been to the seaside, both young and old. Before projects such as Humans of New York put photographing strangers into the forefront of people’s minds, these photographers were capturing entire subcultures, families and life stories in the faces of folk they just happened to come across. Brits love nothing more than a trip to the beach, and this exhibition will have you reaching for a bucket and spade and heading off for a soft whip ice cream in no time. Luckily, you’ll find the beach right on the galleries very doorstep! 
 


Completing the gallery is two exhibits that have Margate at their heart. The first is Tracy Emin’s Death Mask, a bronze sculpture of her own face. Despite being born in London, Emin spent a large chunk of her childhood and teenager years in the town and has later relocated to the town from the busy city streets of London. The artist is currently developing a studio space in the old Thanet Press site, which she plans to leave as a museum of her work when she dies, further connecting her legendary name to the city. The ground floor gallery also currently exhibits the work in progress of resident artist Barbara Walker. This Birmingham artist specialises in large-scale portraiture, capturing the lives of those around her and often working directly onto walls. Her work concerns itself with class and power, gender, race, representation and belonging, and her residency will see her creating portraits of women living in Margate and their experiences with migration. She works at the museum until the end of July, and the work will be on display until 12 April 2020. 
 

Image credit: Turner Contemporary via Facebook
But what does the rest of the year hold for the Turner Contemporary? Following a brief reshuffle in September, the gallery will host this years sought after Turner Prize. The esteemed competition for emerging British artists is hosted at London’s Tate Britain every other year, and the alternate years see it take residence in a different gallery across the UK. Both award and gallery itself take their name from the legendary J.M.W. Turner, a landscape artist who consistently visited Margate to paint it’s moody seascape in the 1800’s. Previous winners of the prize include Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen and Grayson Perry, so enjoy this once in a lifetime chance to see art from the talented stars of the future. This exhibition will be available from 28 September 2019 – 12 January 2020. 

The Turner Contemporary can be found at Rendezvous, Margate, Kent, CT9 1HG and is free to visit.  

A high speed train from London St Pancras will take you to Margate in 1 hour 27 minutes, and a cheaper train takes you from London Victoria to Margate in 1 hour 49 minutes. 
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