The 21st Serpentine Pavilion is curated by Chicago-based American artist Theaster Gates with Adjaye Associates

From June 10 to October 16, 2022, Serpentine Galleries in London present Black Chapel, the 21st Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates. Theaster Gates is the third artist to design the Serpentine Pavilion, following Olafur Eliasson with Kjetil Thorsen in 2006, and Ai Weiwei with Herzog & de Meuron in 2012. The other 20 editions were designed by internationally renowned architects, making their UK debut with the design for the Serpentine Galleries.

Discover all the Serpentine Pavilions, 2000 to present 

serpentine pavilion 2022

Theaster Gates’ Black Chapel, designed with the support of Adjaye Associates for the architectural structure, draws inspiration from different archetypes of architecture. In fact, Gates referenced the industrial facilities of the Stoke-on-Trent bottle kilns in England and the beehive kilns of the western United States; he explored St. Peter’s Cathedral with Roman temples; and finally, he delved into traditional African building structures, such as the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon and the Kasubi tombs of Kampala, Uganda. Theaster Gates was also inspired by the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, and its black paintings, which Rothko had made specifically for its construction.

Discover the Serpentine Pavilion 2021, by studio Counterspace

serpentine pavilion 2022

Serpentine Pavilion 2022: a lightweight and sustainable structure

The Black Chapel at Serpentine Galleries 2022, then, is a small wooden temple where black color dominates; it is a lightweight structure, fully demountable, built from sustainable materials, and completely reusable. Inside, seven panels hanging on the walls house paintings that the artist created specifically for this project. In these works, Gates recalls his father’s craft as a roofer and used the roofing strategies and torch down, which requires an open flame to heat the material and affix it to the surface. A working bronze bell, salvaged from St. Laurence Catholic Church in Chicago, sits next to the Pavilion entrance. The bell helps recreate the sacred atmosphere with the typical sound of bells.

Discover the Serpentine Pavilion 2019, by Junya Ishigami

serpentine pavilion 2022

According to Theaster Gates, the name Black Chapel reflects the less visible parts of his art practice. It also enhances the meaning of the meditation space that the Serpentine Pavilion should take on, a place of tranquility where one can rest from the pressures of the day and spend time in peace. A collective space, too, participated and shared. Pavilion 2022 will be dismantled and relocated to a permanent space at the end of this season. All photos are by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Serpentine Galleries

The Serpentine Pavilion is open until October, 16th, 2022