Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We'll 'ave a day down Margate: Turner Contemporary

Turner Gallery or Lok n Store?

Macho Football culture with a twist!

What's this hoodie holding?
On Sunday I visited somewhere I was meaning to go to all summer: The Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate. My first time in the town and it was a beautiful day. the first impression of Margate as you drive in off the M2 is of a run down Victorian resort in huge need of a facelift. At the Gateway to the sea front is the vile 1960s block of flats. Had it been in Tonbridge I feel confident, if not absolutely certain, that the local Civic Society would never have allowed it to be built. It truely is a blot on the landscape if ever I saw one. That said the bay itself, particularly on a sunny day such as last Sunday, looks very beautiful and, if you squint a little, quite idyllic! The art gallery itself is housed in a purpose built and very modern looking building in- keeping with the works of art themselves. Some might say that the building is just a little too contemporary and functional looking and might even be confused with a storage depot or a supermarket distribution centre or something along those lines. I'm sure the committee which made the decision thought it through and that there's a perfectly sound artistic reason for the way it looks! Whatever you think about the architecture of the outside of the building you cannot fail to be impressed by the contents of the gallery itself. After all that is the main point of going there. At the very least many of the works are thought provoking and inspirational. The current exhibition, Nothing in the World But Youth, is all about Youth as the title suggests. A celebration of the multi-sided complexities of teenage life, a look at the confusion and developing inquisitive minds of the young person and a deep focus on the darkness, joys, depressions, violence and anxieties of the young mind. All of course expressed in a multitude of ways through paintings, sound, video, photography, sculpture and you name it. It works on many levels. If you're middle aged like me (God I think it's the first time I've admitted to being that!) you can recognise the imagery and the feelings represented, perhaps even reminisce. If you're young, and therefore the subject matter of the exhibition, then (if you can even be bothered) you'll see it all from a totally different angle and some of it will stick in your mind and inspire you. You may not even realise it has but it probably will. I know that to some readers this may all sound a tad pretentious or even art farty but, you know what, sometimes that's not such a bad thing. Oh, and if you're a fan of more traditional art, then there are several original paintings by Turner (as you might expect, being named after him) and then there's Rodin's Kiss, if you like that sort of thing! which is there on loan for six months. They don't let you take photos but I managed to smuggle a few out for you to enjoy. Other than the cockles and whelks and the fish n chips I can't think of a better reason to drive the hour and a half to Margate. Treat yourselves to a bit of culture and sea air without the same old train journey into London....
My sister's bedroom from the 1970s
Not a bad effort by Rodin!


Anonymous said...

Make the most of it. Its costing tax payers and in particular Kent tax payers a pretty penny. First the build costs of £16.5 and KCC paying loads more on road works. Then there's the annul running costs of £2.2 millions mostly picked up by KCC. The local Thanet council pays nought even though the TC is meant to kick start Margate's economy.
And did you know that photography is not permitted, of course you did.

Tonbridge blogger said...

I'd rather they spent it on this than stash it in some dodgy Icelandic bank! At least the money's been put to some use. Maybe not to everyone's taste but it is to many people's....

Anonymous said...

The general consensus of the 31 comments on "things to do in Margate" on Tripadvisor is that the TC is a big disappointment and not worth visiting.

The money could have been better spent by KCC on making sure that vunerable children in its care are safe.