As it has every early June for more than two decades now, London’s Serpentine Galleries unveiled the Serpentine Pavilion 2022. For this year’s edition, the work was entrusted to Theaster Gates, an American artist born in 1973 who is internationally recognized for his work in urban planning, religious space and craftsmanship.
Gates’ pavilion is called “Black Chapel” and is a completely black cylindrical structure that stands out among the greenery of London’s Kensington Gardens. The Black Chapel is intended to be both a point of gathering and exchange, but – drawing on the function of sacred places – also one of reflection and isolation from our surroundings.
The Serpentine Pavilion 2022 differs from all previous work and follows new architectural trends and requirements related to sustainability: it is the first pavilion with reusable foundations.
Last year’s work curated by Sumayya Vally and her firm Counterspace was already presented as a “carbon-negative” structure, however, once the exhibition was over the concrete foundations were destroyed, making them unusable. Those of the Black Chapel, on the other hand, are made of wood and rest on concrete slabs that can be conveniently moved from one place to another and reused.
Precisely because of the possibility of easily moving the foundations, Theaster Gates opted for a structure that is completely wooden and therefore much lighter than all those in previous editions.
The “Black Chapel,” illuminated by a central oculus, is the perfect place to temporarily break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and will remain open until Oct. 16.