artist / participant
This winter, the Serpentine presents an exhibition of paintings and the rarely seen drawings of the pioneering and visionary architect Zaha Hadid. The exhibition will take place in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, an extension completed in 2013 and one of Zaha Hadid Architects’ first permanent buildings in central London.
Zaha Hadid is widely regarded as a pioneering and visionary architect whose contribution to the world of architecture was ground-breaking and innovative. The Serpentine presentation, first conceived with Hadid herself, will reveal her as an artist with drawing at the very heart of her work and will include the architect’s calligraphic drawings and rarely seen private notebooks with sketches that reveal her complex thoughts about architectural forms and their relationships. The show will focus on Hadid’s early works before her first building was erected in 1993 (Vitra Fire Station in Germany) and present her paintings and drawings from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The exhibition will take place at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, renovated and extended by Zaha Hadid Architects in 2013. A select number of institutions and museums across the world will join in this timely homage to Zaha Hadid.
Drawing and painting were fundamental to Hadid’s practice. Influenced by Malevich, Tatlin and Rodchenko, she used calligraphic drawings as the main method for visualising her architectural ideas. For Hadid, painting was a design tool, and abstraction an investigative structure for imagining architecture and its relationship to the world we live in. These works on paper and canvas unravel an architecture that Hadid was determined to realise in built structures and is seen in the characteristic lightness and weightlessness of her buildings. Conceived as Hadid’s manifesto of a utopian world, the show reveals her all-encompassing visions of arranging space and interpreting realities.
Many of Hadid’s paintings pre-empt the potential of digital and virtual reality. Technology and innovation has always been central to the work of Zaha Hadid Architects: As Patrik Schumacher, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects said “It was Zaha Hadid who went first and furthest in exploring this way of innovating in architecture – without, as well as with, the support of advanced software”.
The Serpentine has had a long relationship with Hadid, which begun in 1996 when she joined as a Trustee of the Serpentine Gallery. Her first structure in London was the inaugural Serpentine Pavilion in 2000. It was followed by a light installation, Lilas, in 2007. In 2013, she completed the extension for the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, one of Zaha Hadid Architects’s first permanent buildings in central London. She also participated in the Serpentine’s Interview Marathon in 2006 and 89Plus Marathon in 2013.
The exhibition will coincide with the opening of Zaha Hadid Architects much anticipated Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum, which will explore how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world.
Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to London in 1972 to attend the Architectural Association (AA) School where she was awarded the Diploma Prize in 1977. Hadid founded Zaha Hadid Architects in 1979 and completed her first building, the Vitra Fire Station, Germany in 1993.
Zaha Hadid was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and is internationally known for her built, theoretical and academic work. The MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku are built manifestos of Hadid’s quest for complex, fluid space.
The practice recently completed the Oxford University’s Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College and is currently working on a diversity of projects worldwide including the new Beijing Airport Terminal Building in Daxing, China, the Sleuk Rith Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and 520 West 28th Street in New York. Zaha Hadid Architects’ portfolio also includes cultural, corporate, academic, sporting and infrastructure projects across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, in addition to national institutions such as the Central Bank of Iraq and the Grand Theatre de Rabat.