The Serpentine Pavilion at Theaster Gates, Black Chapel, opens June 10

Chicago Social Practice Artist Theaster Gates The black chapel Set to debut in Kensington Gardens as the architect’s first non-design commission on the 22nd date of the Serpentine Pavilion, the Serpentine Galleries’ flagship annual temporary architecture program. for him The black chapelwhich opens to the public June 10 and begins an entire season of summer creative programming hosted by Serpentine, Gates received architectural assistance from Adjaye Associates.

On June 8, Gates will join David Adjaye, who was also a member of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion selection committee, for a discussion with Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist on their “works in art, architecture, architecture and space making” to celebrate this year’s pavilion opening.

Gates said in a statement:

“The name The black chapel Important because it reflects the unseen parts of my artistic practice. It acknowledges the role sacred music and sacred arts have played in my practice, and the collective quality of these emotional and community initiatives. The black chapel It also indicates that in these times there can be a space where one can rest from the stress of the day and spend time in peace. I have always wanted to build spaces where the power of sound and music is a healing mechanism and an emotional force that allows people to enter a space of deep thought and deep engagement.”

Conceived as a space for “gathering, reflection and sharing” The black chapel Inspired in part by the meditative qualities—”transcendental environment,” as the Serpentine put it in a press release—at the Rothko Church in Houston. As previously detailed by AN When Gates’ design for the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion was first revealed last February, the cylindrical shape covered in eyes referenced British artisanal traditions, particularly porcelain (and the massive “bottle kilns” that enabled industrial-scale production in Stoke-on-Trent) as well as kilns Charcoal for beehives in the western United States, Roman San Pietro and tempiettos, and traditional African structures such as the mud huts of Musgum in Cameroon and the Kasabi Tombs in Kampala, Uganda.

Serpentine Pavilion 2022 by Theaster Gates (© Theaster Gates Studio / Photo: Iwan Baan / Courtesy Serpentine)

Adjacent to the pavilion’s entrance is a working bronze bell salvaged from St. Lawrence Church, a prominent Catholic church on Chicago’s South Side, which was demolished in 2014. “Emphasizing the erasure of spaces for meeting and spiritual communion in urban communities, the historic bell will serve as a call to congregation , gathering and meditating throughout the summer’s events,” the Serpentine details in her announcement.

Organized by guest curator Bianca A. Manu Wisumi Umolu, Director of Organization Affairs and Public Practice at Serpentine, the list of upcoming events to be held at the bell is set to include experimental music performances, sound interventions, clay workshops hosted by Mud Gang Pottery Studio, panel discussions, and a tea party. Japanese and Other “Artistic Explorations of Monasticism”.

A series of seven new tar boards were hung inside the pavilion by Gates in honor of his late father, a roofer. “With my father’s recent passing, the pavilion is like a monument, not only to the legacy he shared with me, but also for the ways in which his message became mine,” Gates explained in his technical statement. “The black chapel It seems to have ways of working. Through space, the ship produces ways of being together and ways of understanding each other by being side by side. The black chapel She is a vessel and a vessel for those who choose to gather.”

African American man theaster gates against a red wall
Thyster Gates (© Sara Pooley)

The black chapel It also shares the name and serves as a continuation of the 2019 Gates installation completed at Haus der Kunst in Munich, an “attempt to bring the black spiritual life” into a museum originally built for the Nazi regime in 1937. “My Pavilion The black chapel “I continue my professional investment in creating and maintaining structures for spiritual possibilities,” Gates said. The black chapel It also culminates in a two-year survey Clay questiona collaboration between the Serpentine, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Whitechapel Gallery, and the White Cube, which saw Gates investigate clay’s role in craft, work, history, colonialism, religion, and every other aspect made possible through sculpture, film, and now architecture.

Constructed from stained and sustainably sourced wood, the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 is a relatively lightweight affair (at least compared to last year’s massive steel and concrete fixtures designed by South African studio Counterspace). It is worth noting that the physical composition of the wing has marginal links to it AN Because it is the first international project implemented under the Grace Farm Foundation’s Design For Freedom initiative. Design For Freedom/Grace Farms, which served as responsible material consultant for the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion, was first designed by Grace Farms founder and CEO Sharon Prince and Bill Menking, co-founder and late editor-in-chief of Al Mohandes Newspaper, in the fall of 2017 to raise awareness of forced labor in the advanced electronics industry and implement ways to eliminate it entirely in favor of an ethical supply chain untainted by human suffering. Design For Freedom officially launched in October 2020 and held its inaugural summit at Grace Farms’ New Canaan campus, Connecticut, this past March.

Serpentine Pavilion 2022 by Theaster Gates (© Theaster Gates Studio / Photo: Iwan Baan / Courtesy Serpentine)

In her role as responsible materials consultant, Grace Farms worked alongside Serpentine and technical advisor AECOM to ascertain the origins of the timber and plywood used to construct the pavilion as well as the concrete, steel and weatherproof membrane supports. Grace Farms explained in: “The team has engaged with suppliers and manufacturers to trace and document these materials as closely as possible in the supply chain, thus creating transparency and reducing the risks of forced labor and child labor in the products used to build the pavilion.” Press announcement.

“It is an honor that Design for Freedom by Grace Farms has collaborated with Serpentine to evaluate the ethical sourcing of building materials for the 21st Serpentine Pavilion,” Prince added in a statement. “This first completed international Design for Freedom project accelerates the growing movement to eliminate forced labor from the building materials supply chain. Grace Farms looks forward to strengthening this partnership with joint programming this year in the United States at Grace Farms and at Serpentine.”

The black chapel It will remain on display until October 16th and open daily from 10am-6pm, except for June 30th when it will be closed to the public and reopened the following afternoon. All events held in the pavilion are free to the public, unless otherwise stated by the Serpentine Club.

Goldman Sachs serves as lead partner for Serpentine Pavilion for the eighth consecutive year with Therme Group and the Zurich-based LUMA Foundation, where they act as supporting partners. Previous designers of the Serpentine Pavilion include Zaha Hadid (2000), Oscar Niemeyer (2003), Sana (2009), Su Fujimoto (2013), and 2022 Pritzker Prize winner Frances Kerry (2017).

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