There’s something about the Adrián Villar Rojas exhibition that adds a sense of mystery to the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Titled Today We Reboot The Planet, Rojas’ work has consumed the Gallery, covering it’s floors and core with brick and concrete as if to give it a new form and life. And in doing this through his signature large scale installations, he explores several themes including those of the fossilised monument, the vulnerability of the natural versus the man-made, and art taking over a given space to add greater meaning.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery in it’s newly renovated form and with an extension by Zaha Hadid Architects was built in 1805 and was originally used as a gun powder store. And at the heart of the Gallery are two vaulted passages that no doubt will be put to dynamic use by all exhibiting artists. Rojas himself has left one empty for visitors to walk through while the other contains a floor-to-ceiling presentation of the unfired clay sculptures he and his team have made during his residency in London. These numerous sculptures are misshapen and otherworldly, and are aimed at representing how human interference affects nature’s intent.
We love the brick floor, the way Rojas’ work sweeps across the space, and the fact that cracks, imperfections and unabashed vulnerability is celebrated in this display. Add to that the mystery of what the Gallery actually looks like given that most of the central area and floor have been taken over by this site-specific installation.
We’re still undecided about the Hadid extension wrapped around the corner of the historic building, but then it brings with it great potential as a cafe or events space. More on this soon as we’re going back to explore shortly.