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‘Janus Fortress: Folkestone’ is a new multifaceted work located on the cliff-top overlooking the town.
On 29 May 2021, artist Pilar Quinteros launched a new outdoor artwork for the town of Folkestone, working with Creative Folkestone and as part of England's Creative Coast.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames and endings, usually depicted with two faces. Quinteros’s sculpture, which likewise presents two faces — one faced inland and the other gazing at the sea — symbolises the duality of borders: of looking outwards while protecting inwards, a dichotomy that the pandemic has made extremely pronounced.
The large sculpture is made out of a carefully calibrated plaster composite that resembles the chalk cliffs nearby, and its substance is similarly susceptible to weather and to human interaction, liable like the eroding cliff face to disintegrate over time. Quinteros cedes sculptural control to her materials through her work’s built-in fragility and metamorphosis, and in this way her work suggests an acceptance of mortality and of not being able to control life. It is, she says, “a monument to uncertainty”.
‘Janus Fortress Folkestone’ is also part of the 2021 Folkestone Triennial, ‘The Plot’, and the work will form part of a procession that ends the exhibition — and closes England’s Creative Coast — at the end of October.
Explaining the ideas behind her work, Quinteros states: “For much of human history it was believed that we lived in a world of binary nature, of opposites. Working for Waterfronts for England's Creative Coast, and the specific location of Folkestone makes me think of that region of the country and its history being an important border, as a place of simultaneous entries and exits. It is a precise place to think about supposed opposites and what can be in the middle. Art, I think, opens that possibility.”
Pilar Quinteros’s art is underpinned by an abiding interest in public spaces, the way they function and the diversity of human behaviour within them. She experiments with both structure and material, testing the boundaries, resilience and resistance of fragile and unstable substances and how these transform over time.