On June 26th was inaugurated the 14th summer Temporary Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London. Every year The Serpentine Gallery invites an important architetct. It is one of the most anticipated events in the cultural calendar. This year the design was commissioned to the Chilean architect Smiljan Radić.
The new Radić’s Pavilion occupies a footprint of 540 sam outside the entrance of the Serpentine Gallery. The nick name is dinosaur egg, it is a huge shell, a semi-transparent cocoon resting on large quarry stones. It is a flexible architecture that invites visitors to enter and interact with it in different ways, a multi-purpose social space with a café sited inside. For four months it will become the stage for art, poetry, music, film and literature specific events.
Smiljan Radić follows other worldwide famous architects: Sou Fujimoto, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, Kazuyo Sejima, Frank Gehry, Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond with Arup, Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, MVRDV with Arup, Oscar Niemeyer, Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond with Arup, Daniel Libeskind with Arup and Zaha Hadid who designed the the inaugural Pavillion in 2000.
Zaha Hadid is also designer of The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, on the opposite side of the Serpentine Lake, the new bold and wave-shaped 900 sqm extension (a“grafting”, using a Cino Zucchi’s word) opened last September 2013.
Smiljan Radić explains his project “The Serpentine 2014 Pavilion is part of the history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies, which were hugely popular from the end of the sixteenth Century to the start of the nineteenth. Externally, the visitor will see a fragile shell suspended on large quarry stones. This shell – white, translucent and made of fiberglass – will house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating. At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the light will attract the attention of passers-by, like lamps attracting moths.”
If you visit the Serpentine Galleries before August 24th, don’t miss the new site specific performance “512 Hours” by the great Serbian artist Marina Abramović. A further evolution compared with the previous performance “The Artist is Present” (two chairs facing each other, a visitor at a time, in absolute silence, compares himself with the intense presence of Marina sitting in front).
In London the artist will be “simply” present for 512 Hours (every day for three monthes) inside the space of the Serpentine Gallery, together with the visitors that “simply” moves and share the empty environment -strictly deprived of bags, watches and mobile phones- for an indefinite period of time. The sense of disorientation is strong, the boundaries between performer and audience falls, the “simple” presence of both of them generates energy.
Text by Gabriele Masi.