Blog Post June 2018 by Wendy Dobing

Posted on June 16, 2018 at 17:28 PM

Back to the Serpentine

I said I would report back about this year's installation at the Serpentine Pavilion. I will get straight to the point: I was very underwhelmed. It may be that I was spoiled by the majesty of 2016's offering by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). I simply could not get enough of that. It was so beautiful to be there, in context, beyond context and then even going through the photos afterwards was a treat. I remember thinking it was a shame that it was a temporary installation.

Back to this year's installation: designed by Frida Escobedo. The Serpentine Pavilion website says this about the installation:

"Architect Frida Escobedo, celebrated for dynamic projects that reactivate urban space, has been commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2018. Harnessing a subtle interplay of light, water and geometry, her atmospheric courtyard-based design draws on both the domestic architecture of Mexico and British materials and history, specifically the Prime Meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich."

At first glance there is a structure of unconnected walls that appear to be made out of stacked dark grey roof tiles (a nod to the urban). As you walk around these you are confronted with cleverly mirrored ceilings and a few very shallow recesses in the floor containing water. This interacts with the light reflected on to the ceiling and the light entering through the little gaps in the roof tile stacks.

Although cleverly thought out, it seemed to be uninspirational. Possibly the lack of colour and a lack of something for my imagination to latch on to left me feeling disappointed. I had seen some imagery of the installation already online but I thought I would see it for myself. Sometimes photography can be limiting when the artist's aim is that the audience's experience of the installation is more important.

In this instance the photography conveyed quite accurately what I saw for myself.

4 out of 10 for this year. I'll report back next year, hopefully for a more uplifting experience.