After hinting at a collaboration last spring, the Serpentine Galleries in London has revealed the plans for the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion designed by the Chicago-based artist, educator, and urban planner Theaster Gates. Dubbed "Black Chapel," the pavilion—which Gates will realize with architectural assistance from Adjaye Associates—draws inspiration from the industrial bottle kilns in Stoke-on-Trent, England, paying "homage to British craft and manufacturing traditions," according to a press release from the Serpentine.
The largely wood pavilion will include a functional bell from Chicago's now-demolished St. Laurence Church, adding to the project's "performative and meditative qualities," states the same release. An oculus on the pavilion ceiling will serve as a single source of light, creating a "sanctuary-like environment for reflection and communion."
“The name Black Chapel is important because it reflects the invisible parts of my artistic practice," Gates said in the release. "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.”
The pavilion also shares a name with a 2019 exhibition Gates curated for the Haus der Kunst in Munich, a museum originally built for the Nazi regime. For the exhibition, Gates gathered photographs, sculptures, and documents that evoked "questions about Black history, spirituality, and representation," according a description from the Haus der Kunst.
The pavilion—currently slated to open to the public on June 10—will also host public events and performances, serving as a platform for live music, poetry, and dance.