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.

This is not a wheelchair accessible artwork.

Audio guide



  1. Posted by Folkstone Triennial 2014 review: end-of-the-pier gags – The Guardian | Christian Gifting on August 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    […] Gabriel Lester‘s forest of bamboo scaffolding, by the old harbour viaduct, is meant to remind us that the future is China’s, though for now it belongs to the seagulls. Elsewhere, fanciful versions of New York rooftop water towers – on roundabouts and in vacant lots – mark the path of the Pent stream, which flows beneath the streets, and offer a disconcerting trail through the town. A number of daft plastic headless chickens on rooftops act as weather-vanes, glowing in computerised response to the level of global fear tracked by software on the internet. This is spooky but silly. […]

  2. Posted by Love Folkestone – Opening week of Folkestone Triennial 2014 is a roaring success on September 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    […] hit, as well as the Hawksmoor-style beach hut on the seafront. Before it opened to the public Gabriel Lester’s bamboo structure atop the harbour railway line (constructed early so as not to disrupt the summer trade of the local […]

  3. Posted by Lookout: Folkestone Triennial 2014 | karenatstepney on September 8, 2014 at 9:30 am

    […] I’m glancing through the Folkestone Triennial 2014 brochure I bought yesterday: the page is open at The Electrified Line, by Gabriel Lester. […]

  4. Posted by FRANCES on September 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Suggest Mr Lester reads a copy of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Or perhaps he already has. Good joke, dear. That matchstick creation at Folkestone will probably fool some people but not all. Perhaps its demolition is included in the renovation plans the Council has for the area. Many of the locals hope so.

  5. Posted by Wendy on October 7, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Brilliant. I am local(ish) and stumbled across the luckiest plce on earth near the train station – how clever to have been done by a 3d printer.
    The bamboo sculpture is great. Structure is awesome and the view is terrific.
    We followed the pent stream structures & all the helpers were very knowledgeable and keen.
    The wind lift was great, much more stable than you think. There is a sunflower tea room opposite which deserves a mention as the painting exhibition is intriguing.
    We will be doing more of the art work next week. A treat I am looking forward to.

  6. Posted by Time on my hands | change is a wonderful thing on October 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

    […] Art, as previously mentioned is a current highlight in Folkestone as its the Triennial and Fringe at the moment. My son has decreed ‘No More Art!’ as we have seen so much, but unfortunately for him there is more to see. He is quite partial to Gabriel Lester’s The Electrified Line (Cross-track Observation-deck). We visit it each time we are in the Harbour area and every time the same conversation: ‘What will happen when a train comes?’ it begins, and each time I explain that trains no longer run on the line but he is never convinced and worries the structure is in the way and some terrible disaster will occur.(photo borrowed from Folkestone Triennial website) […]

  7. Posted by Folkestone; The Enigma | The Open Gates on October 20, 2014 at 8:49 am

    […] throughout the town that you had to spot and note down, the bamboo structure was a piece donated by Gabriel Lester to the […]

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