Theaster Gates’s Serpentine Pavilion
The artist has built a space for quiet contemplation in homage to his roofer father, but the materials seem too clean-cut and corporate to fit the idea.
A tolling church bell has joined the summer sounds of birdsong and tinkling fountains in Kensington Gardens, announcing the arrival of an unusual sacred space. Standing among the trees as a brooding black cylinder, this year’s Serpentine pavilion, titled Black Chapel, is one of the more sombre structures built for the annual commission so far, designed as a place for quiet contemplation, meditation and sacred music (and a bit of raucous dancing, too).
“I want it to be somewhere where people can be together in silence, be with their thoughts and rest,” said Theaster Gates, the Chicago-based artist behind this year’s pavilion.
The structure has a refreshingly workmanlike simplicity, although it has been filtered through the refined, carefully-detailed lens of Adjaye Associates, who helped with execution of the project...