Black Chapel by Theaster Gates is the Serpentine Pavilion 2022



Serpentine Pavilion,

From June 10, the summer programme of the Serpentine Galleries in London kicks off, with the opening to the public of Black Chapel, the 21st Serpentine Pavilion. The project is the work of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, with the support of Adjaye Associates for the architectural part and Goldman Sachs for the financial support. The temporary structure will be used as a space for gathering, meditation and participation, as well as hosting some of the summer events of the London gallery's live programme.

Black Chapel by Theaster Gates is the Serpentine Pavilion 2022

Black Chapel is the 21st Serpentine Galleries Pavilion in London, the temporary structure which, from June 10, will open its doors to the public and host live events as part of the London gallery's summer programme. The project is the work of Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates. On the occasion of the Pavilion's inauguration, which took place on June 8, Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, conversed with artist Theaster Gates and architect Sir David Adjaye OBE to explore the themes synthesised in the project.

The new Serpentine Pavilion has been conceived as a space for gathering, meditation, as well as for building connections between art, architecture and urbanism. The structure is inspired by architectural typologies that draw on the artist's experience and which he encountered in his work, such as the bottle kilns typical of Stoke-on-Trent in England or the beehive kilns of the western United States. Clear references to Bramante's Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio) in Rome and to traditional African structures such as the Musgum mud huts in Cameroon and the Kasabi tombs in Kampala, Uganda can also be perceived.
A working bronze bell, salvaged from St. Laurence, a landmark Catholic Church that once stood in Chicago’s South Side, stands next to the Pavilion's entrance. The presence of the bell is both a reminder of the erasure of spaces for gathering and spiritual communion in urban areas, as well as a call to bring together and aggregate the community during the summer events. Precisely for this space, the artist has produced a series of new tar paintings that pay homage to his father's craft as a waterproofer and roofer, as well as having been inspired by the transcendental ambience of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. Finally, as Theaster Gates explained, the "chapel" reference, also found in the name of the project, looks to emphasise and recognise the role that sacred music and the sacred arts play in both his artistic practice, as well as in the collective quality of these spaces. The artist, in fact, wanted to create a space where music and sound could exert their healing power and induce people "to enter a space of deep reflection and deep participation". Aspirations that have found fulfilment in the Serpentine Pavilion's summer programme of events, with its rich offer of live music events and performances that will make the most of the structure's acoustics.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Images courtesy of Serpentine Galleries

Serpentine Pavilion 2022

Architectural Concept: Theaster Gates
Architectural Support: Adjaye Associates
Project Directors: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director / Bettina Korek, CEO
Project Leader: Julie Burnell, Director of Construction and Special Projects
Curators: Yesomi Umolu, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice / Natalia Grabowska, Project Curator / Chris Bayley, Assistant Curator

Live Programme: Bianca A. Manu, Guest Curator, Live Programme / Uma Karavadra, Curatorial Assistant, Live Programme

Fact Sheet
Overall site area: 541 m2
Gross internal area: 201 m2
Footprint: 201 m2

01-06 Serpentine Pavilion 2022 designed by Theaster Gates © Theaster Gates Studio. Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy: Serpentine.
07 Theaster Gates. © Rankin Photography.
08 Theaster Gates, Black Vessel for a Saint, 2017. Photo: Gene Pittman. Courtesy Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis.
09 Sanctum, Temple Church, Bristol, 2015. Photo: Max McClure. Courtesy Situations.
10 Johnson Publishing Library, Stony Island Arts Bank. Photo: Tom Harris. © Hedrich Blessing. Courtesy of Rebuild Foundation.
11 Theaster Gates, Gone Are the Days of Shelter and Martyr, installation view, Venice Biennale, 2015. ©Theaster Gates. Photo Francesco Allegretto.
12 Theaster Gates, Gone Are The Days of Shelter and Martyr, 2014 (still) Video, colour, sound, 6 min. 31 sec. © Theaster Gates. Photo: Sara Pooley. Courtesy of Theaster Gates Studio.  


Stay in touch with the protagonists of architecture, Subscribe to the Floornature Newsletter