London’s Serpentine Gallery to Show Zaha Hadid’s Rarely-Seen Notebooks

The exhibition will also feature the late architect's paintings.

Zaha Hadid. Photo: © Patrick McMullan.

A traveling exhibition of rarely seen notebooks and early paintings by the influential late architect Zaha Hadid will go on display at international venues she designed.

Starting at London’s Serpentine Galleries, the exhibition’s opening date was brought forward by the institution following the Iraqi-born British architect’s unexpected death in March.

According to the Guardian, the Serpentine’s artistic director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, convinced Hadid to show her notebooks after attending her Royal Institute of British Architects lecture in February. During her speech, Hadid showed some private sketches revealing her creative process.

“I was completely transfixed,” Obrist told the Guardian. “I had never seen such notebooks. I wanted to see her to discuss what we could do. An exhibition? A book?”

Hadid eventually agreed to show her notebooks and other work at the Serpentine’s Sackler gallery, which the Iraqi-born British architect redesigned and extended in a £14.5 million ($18 million) overhaul in 2013.

Zaha Hadid poses outside the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images.

Zaha Hadid poses outside the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images.

A week after the initial meeting between Obrist and Hadid, the architect travelled to Miami where she was hospitalized with bronchitis and unexpectedly died. “We had planned that after her return, her office would get all the drawings out and we would start the work,” Obrist said.

The show, now opening on December 8, will celebrate the architect’s life and work. According to the Art Newspaper “a select number of institutions and museums” will subsequently host the exhibition. A spokeswoman for the Serpentine Gallery revealed that a separate show will travel to Rome’s MaXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts, in 2017.

Patrick Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, noted that another possible destinations for the show could be the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, that Hadid designed.

Schumacher also revealed that the Zaha Hadid Foundation was currently working on establishing an archive of Hadid’s work, but stressed that the exhibition was the current priority.


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