Kent

Emin and Holland to open £17m Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary
Image caption The gallery stands on the site of a cottage where the 19th Century artist JMW Turner lived.

Artist Tracey Emin and musician Jools Holland will open the Turner Contemporary gallery in Kent, it has been announced.

The £17m gallery opens next Saturday in Margate, on the seafront site of a cottage where JMW Turner lived.

Emin grew up in the town and last year unveiled a pink neon love letter to Margate. The work was later sold to raise money for the gallery.

Director Victoria Pomery said Holland had a long-term relationship with Kent.

The musician owns 14th Century Cooling Castle, near Rochester.

Chairman of Turner Contemporary, John Kampfner, said the gallery opening marked the start of an "extraordinary opportunity for Margate and Thanet to become one of the UK's most compelling culture and tourism destinations".

Ms Pomery said it would be "a momentous day".

New commissions

She said an "extraordinary but little-known painting" by Turner, The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains, was already in place for the launch.

The opening exhibition, which has the Turner painting at its centre, includes four new commissions and explores themes of imagination, discovery, wonder, and the creative spirit.

Building work on the gallery, designed by architect David Chipperfield, started in November 2008.

The gallery is the focus of plans to regenerate the Kent town.

Thanet council has pledged to bring empty shops back into use and improve the town's signage, lighting, seafront shelters, railway station forecourt, and Arcadian Hotel.

Arts Council England, the South East England Development Agency and Kent County Council are among bodies which provided funding for the gallery.

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