Theaster Gates design revealed for Serpentine Pavilion 2022

Plans were revealed for Black Chapel, the 21st Serpentine Pavilion designed by Chicago based artist Theaster Gates. Black Chapel is realised with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates and will open to the public on Friday 10 June 2022.

Drawing inspiration from the significance of the great kilns of Stoke-on-Trent, the Pavilion will pay homage to British craft and manufacturing traditions. While the structure of the Pavilion will predominantly be made of wood, the Pavilion’s design alludes to the performative and meditative qualities of a small chapel.

An operating bell, originating from the demolished St. Laurence Church on Chicago’s South Side, will be placed next to the entrance of the Pavilion and will be used to call, signal and announce performances and activations. A single source of light from an oculus will create a sanctuary-like environment for reflection and communion.

Conceived as a platform for participation, live performances, with an emphasis on music and public engagement, Black Chapel will continue the artist’s ongoing practice of space-making through urban and architectural interventions.

Theaster Gates said: “The name Black Chapel is important because it reflects the invisible parts of
my artistic practice. It acknowledges the role that sacred music and the sacred arts have had on my practice, and the collective quality of these emotional and communal initiatives. Black Chapel also suggests that in these times there could be a space where one could rest from the pressures of the day and spend time in quietude. I have always wanted to build spaces that consider the power of sound and music as a healing mechanism and emotive force that allows people to enter a space of deep reflection and/or deep participation.”

Reflecting on his oeuvre, the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 designed by Theaster Gates shares the same title as a commission Gates received in 2019, from the late museum director and curator Okwui Enwezor to activate the central atrium of museum Haus der Kunst, Munich, originally built for the Nazi Regime. This project was an attempt to bring Black spiritual life to the museum.

Throughout the Summer, the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 will become a platform for Serpentine’s programme which will feature the return of Park Nights, the interdisciplinary platform for live encounters in music, poetry and dance, running alongside Serpentine’s Education and Civic activations including Family Workshops and Community Day.

Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel designed by Theaster Gates. Design render, interior view. © 2022 Theaster Gates Studio.