[July 2021] From the train station of Margate, a seaside town in southeastern England, look to the right and you will see a unrefined white square warehouse further away beyond the old townscape.
I told my husband, “They should have thought a little more to fit to the town view, when they built the warehouse”, but this warehouse was a museum called Turner Contemporary.
The museum, which opened in 2011 as part of plan to dispel the impression of Margate, the “vulgar mass beach town,” exhibits contemporary art.
We had some time, so we visited there after lunch.
Admission was free, but as part of the Covid measures, it was written that “advance reservation is required”, so I thought it would be impossible to enter, but as usual, my husband went to negotiate, and they said “please come in” without any fuss.
After all, this seemed to be a museum unrelated to the general people who filled the beach, and it was completely vacant despite the congestion outside.
The main exhibit of the day was the work named “Disappointed Tourist” by an artist called Ellen Harvey, and it was the collection of about 200 black-and-white paintings of tourist destinations that had disappeared.
Among them was a picture of Hiroshima Castle that collapsed due to the dropping of the atomic bomb (now reconstructed) .
For those of us who love travelling, it was an interesting project.
By the way, I thought a little meanly, “Why Turner?” “Because there are few world-famous painters in Britain compared to Italy and France, they thought that if they named it Turner, people would come?”.
However, there were a few very modest pictures of Turner in one corner.
According to the description there, Turner was sent to his uncle’s in Margate at the age of 11 and attended a school on the street with the lovely name “Love Lane”.
In addition, Turner frequently visited Margate, a major resort in the 1820s, and was a regular customer at the inn which used to be at the location of this Turner Contemporary.
Looking out over the sea from the window of this museum, I saw a statue that seemed to be the work of Antony Gormley standing in the sea.
When I looked it up, I found that it was installed as part of the Turner Contemporary exhibit in 2017, and it will be kept here until November 2030.
This statue is familiar to us.
Turner Contemporary had a stylish shop, but it may not be for the general public visiting Margate for the beach.
I thought it was a little too far from the actual situation of Margate.
Near the museum, there was an indoor market called “The Old Kent Market”.
The ground floor was like a food court, and the first floor had several craft shops.
I didn’t find anything I wanted to buy, though.
Apparently, this building used to be a cinema long ago.
Compared to Turner Contemporary, there were quite a few people in the market, which was much more commonplace.