Gabriel Lester works in a range of media, initially focusing on music and progressing to film, installations and constructed environments. Lester’s work originates from a desire to tell stories, and construct environments that support these stories and propose their own narrative interpretation.
For Folkestone Triennial 2014, Gabriel Lester has created a sculpture sitting against and on top of the Harbour Railway Viaduct, at the point where it leaves the land and reaches across the harbour to the former Harbour Station. This ensemble of infrastructure is at the heart of Folkestone’s history as a place of embarkation, and its future remains a matter of contested speculation.
The sculpture provides steps on which people can sit and look at the harbour or eat their shellfish snacks, looking out across the harbour; or they can climb to the ‘observation platform’ and look along the length of the viaduct and experience the connection it creates between the old harbour residential neighbourhood and the sea front. In this way, the sculpture can contribute a positive experience to the discussions needed concerning the viaduct’s future.
The use of bamboo was inspired by the bamboo scaffolding Lester saw while he was living in China – he was not only impressed by its physical strength and practicality, but loved its material qualities (sound, smell, colour etc). And the bamboo also reminds us, of course, that the ‘Chinese Century’ is starting, which will no doubt have its effect on Folkestone’s economic future.
Lester was born in 1972 in Amsterdam, where he still lives and works. He has exhibited at: Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Dilzis Rodeo Gallery, and SALT, Istanbul; Bloomberg Space, and IBID, London; Gallery BirteKleeman, Berlin; Bonniers Kusthalle, Stockholm; Wako Works of Art, Tokyo; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Nam June Paik Art Centre, Seoul; Sao Paolo Biennial, Sao Paolo; Performa 09 Biennial, New York; Kadist Foundation, Paris; Kunsthalle Bern; MA CCA San Francisco; Liverpool Biennial 2008; Biennale di Venezia 2007; Documenta 13, Kassel; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam among many others.
Click the play button to watch Gabriel Lester’s introduction to this work: