This year’s Serpentine Pavilion in London finds new home in Kuala Lumpur

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 13 Dec 2017

PETALING JAYA: The Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur is now the proud owner of the Serpentine Pavilion 2017, an iconic annual architectural commission based in London.

“The Serpentine Pavilion 2017 by architect Francis Kere will be transported to Malaysia by early next year,” said Ilham gallery director Rahel Joseph.

“Thanks to the generous donations by a group of philanthropists, Ilham Gallery now has a prestigious architectural commission in its collection.It was a surprising yet very welcome bit of news to be the new custodians of this exciting work,” she added.

Joseph says that the 52-year-old Kere was the first African architect to be chosen to design the annual Serpentine Pavilion.

Kere, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kere Architecture, was the 17th architect to accept the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation to design a temporary Pavilion in its Kensington Gardens grounds.

Since its launch in 2000, this annual commission of an international architect to build his or her first structure in London at the time of invitation has become one of the most anticipated events in the global cultural calendar and a leading visitor attraction during London’s summer season.

For four months, it can attract up to 300,000 visitors annually.

The Pavilion series has become an international site for architectural experimentation and has presented projects by some of the world’s greatest architects, including Herzog and de Meuron and Ai Weiwei in 2012, Frank Gehry in 2008 and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural Pavilion in 2000.

“We are glad Kere's Pavilion is coming to Malaysia. It was a crowd-puller when it was shown in London earlier this year,” said Joseph. 

Kere has described the pavilion as a “responsive” structure that “seeks to connect its visitors to nature and each other”. The design of the Pavilion 2017 was inspired by a tree and meeting place in Kere’s hometown of Gando, Burkina Faso.

At present, Ilham Gallery has two permanent installations – Divina Proportione by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Breast Stupa Topiary by Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak, which are at the entrance of the Ilham Tower. Ilham Gallery, a private art gallery and research space, opened in 2015.

“Kere’s work is also a permanent installation but we will confirm the location at a later date – its too large for Ilham and we want to put it in a public space so people can enjoy. We are currently trying to identify a space for it in the Klang Valley,” says Joseph.

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