Serpentine Suite Thyster Gates: Black Chapel Review – Is It An Empty Bowl? | crooked wing

a The chime of the church bell joined the sounds of summer birds and chirping fountains in Kensington Gardens, announcing the arrival of an extraordinary sacred place. This year’s Serpentine Pavilion, titled the Black Chapel, stands among the trees as a lively black drum, one of the bleakest buildings built for the annual commission yet, designed as a place for quiet contemplation, meditation, sacred music (and a bit) of boisterous dancing also).

“I want to be in a place where people can be together in silence, with their thoughts and their comfort,” Thyster Gates said:, the Chicago-based artist is behind this year’s booth. “But it can also be an amplifier and a resonator, a place where great music can happen, where we can sing together and dance.”

The pavilion looks partly industrial and partly spiritual like a funeral chapel built inside a converted gas gauge. A narrow black corridor cuts through the newly laid lawn outside the gallery, leading to a long slender entrance cut into the massive wooden cylinder, enticing visitors inside. Inside, a continuous bench extends around the edge of the vast cylindrical volume, while vertical timber gables support the plywood-clad walls, rising to a shallow vaulted ceiling perforated with a single opening.

Each surface is wetted with ink black paint, creating the atmospheric background of seven square panels that sparkle in the dark, hanging on the wall like a mysterious altar. A late addition to the wing, these are some Tar Gates Boardsmade of layers of burnt silver bitumen roofing material (commonly known asunder the torchin the United States), spurred in part by the death of his father, who was engaged in roofing by trade.

Serpentine Pavilion 2022, Designed by Theaster Gates, Black Chapel
The bronze bell in the back of the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 at Theaster Gates. Photography: Ewan Ban / Serpentine

“The pavilion feels like a kind of monument to his life, and he passed that skill from him to me,” said Gates, the first artist to receive the Serpentine Prize, which usually goes to an architect. “Maybe even when I don’t want the skill, you know—I was just a kid growing up, and I had to work with my pops. But now I feel really lucky, and I use his techniques a lot in my work. The whole suite is one big roof.”

The roof with a three-meter hole is perforated, that is, it has already put the underground drainage system through its steps over the weekend. “I’ve been thinking more about the light than the rain,” Gates admits. Although being here in the rain can be an amazing performance, like When it rains inside the Pantheon in Rome, with droplets resonating within the large cylinder. It would add another acoustic dimension to the sound of the large bronze bell, mounted on the floor around the rear of the pavilion, which was salvaged from ruined church in Chicago’s Southside, and will be festively organized throughout the eventful summer program of events – scheduled to range from Gregorian chants to jazz parties, Japanese tea ceremonies and family mud workshops.

Serpentine Pavilion 2022, Designed by Theaster Gates, Black Chapel
A bleak structure … the Serpentine Suite at the 2022 Thyster Gates. Photography: Ewan Ban / Serpentine

As with much of Gates’ work, he was the inspiration for the suite It started with ceramics. His commissioning has been postponed for a year so that it can coincide with his broader multi-location project in London, Clay question, which has seen exhibitions across the V&A, Whitechapel Gallery, and White Cube exploring the history, craft, and ethnic politics of ceramics. He sees the ward as the mother pot of all of them: “I thought, ‘What if I could make a little pot bigger?'” I thought. What if he could switch from drinking to containing people? “

Take inspiration from Stoke On Trent Bottle Ovens and the beehive ovens From the western United States, as Gates initially envisioned Large vaulted brick structureBut the temporary nature of the project negated that. Crucifixion was then considered, but also abandoned on the basis His incarnate carbon and speed of construction.

“It has to be designed and built on a strict schedule,” he said. “But I also wanted to abstract it down to its basic parts, so that it feels pure. I’m not an architect, so I wanted to have the basic building logic, rather than doing something like fancy suites in the past.”

The structure is refreshingly practical in simplicity, although filtered through the meticulous and carefully detailed lens of Adjaye Associates, who helped implement the project. It is as if something is lost in translation: there is a bit of a rough, tough, and dedicated soul to Gates’ usual work, as community buildings Reimagined on the south side of Chicago, or campus space Co-designed in Bristol in 2015, it is made from recycled materials collected from work sites and religious practices. Gates knows better than most of those materials that embody meaning, but the finely cut, freshly treated wood shown here speaks more about Goldman Sachs’ patronage and pavilion acquisition. By an Austrian spa operator The kind of locally rooted, community-focused practice with which he made his name. Everything is a little too slick. Gates said he tried using reclaimed or surplus materials for the wing, but struggled to find enough components for the correct dimensions.

As in previous years, the nature of the project – prefabricated in Yorkshire by The first stage Hiring the builders and trucking them to Kensington – means the materials are suitable for the pre-selected design, not the other way around. Other designers hope to use locally sourced components (such as Francis Kerry’s plan for clay bricks or Frida Escobedo’s goal For the use of non-stressed ceiling tiles, it was likewise frustrated by the practical realities of tightly designed gallery production.

However, these limitations are known from the start, and some have traversed them more nimbly than others. The success of last year’s suite by the youngest architect to date, Sumaya Valley from Counterspacesuggests that Serpentine might be better off exploring more untested names, for which the committee would be the most famous project – rather than busy international stars who might not consider the pop-up party wing their top priority.