See the Paintings of Architect Zaha Hadid at London’s Serpentine Gallery

Rarely seen artworks by Hadid are now on view in a building she designed.

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. Courtesy of the Serpentine Galleries, © Zaha Hadid Foundation/© 2016 Luke Hayes.
Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. Courtesy of the Serpentine Galleries, ©Zaha Hadid Foundation/©2016 Luke Hayes.

The paintings of the late, great architect Zaha Hadid, who died unexpectedly in March at age 65, are currently on view at London’s Serpentine Galleries, in the exhibition “Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings.”

The rarely seen work is on view at the museum’s Serpentine Sackler extension, which was designed by Hadid and completed in 2013, and was one of her first permanent buildings in London. (She was responsible for the first annual Serpentine Pavilion, way back in 2000.)

Drawing and painting, which functioned as design tools for Hadid, factored heavily into her practice as a architect, as seen in the depictions of cities and buildings on view. She counted Russian constructivists such as Kazimir Malevich, Tatlin Vladimir and Alexander Rodchenko as influences; their unrealized architectural artworks inspired the apparent weightlessness of her groundbreaking buildings.

Zaha Hadid, <em>Grand Buildings Trafalgar Square</em> (1985). © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid, Grand Buildings Trafalgar Square (1985). ©Zaha Hadid Architects

“The whole idea of lightness, floating, structure and how it lands gently. It all comes from [Suprematism],” Hadid told Serpentine artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist in his book Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Architects. Her architectural vision was almost as if Abstraction came to life.

“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,” said Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, in a statement.

“She anticipated digital design,” added Obrist, speaking to guests at the opening, according to the Art Newspaper.

Zaha Hadid, <em>The Peak, Hong Kong</em> (1983). © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid, The Peak, Hong Kong (1983). ©Zaha Hadid Architects

The works on view include a student work from the late 1970s, featuring a design for a hotel on a bridge across the river Thames, as well as a futuristic painting of Hong Kong created as part of an unsuccessful proposal for the Peak Leisure Club.

Hadid was a longtime supporter of the Serpentine, where she had served as a trustee since 1996, and plans for the exhibition were already in motion prior to her sudden passing. It opens concurrently with “Mathematics: The Winton Gallery,” designed by Zaha Hadid Architects at the Science Museum, London.

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. Courtesy of the Serpentine Galleries, © Zaha Hadid Foundation/© 2016 Hugo Glendinning.

Zaha Hadid, Installation view, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. Courtesy of the Serpentine Galleries, ©Zaha Hadid Foundation/©2016 Hugo Glendinning.

The 2004 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Hadid designed the MAXXI Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, and the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, among other influential buildings.

“Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings” is on view at the Serpentine Galleries, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, West Carriage Drive, London, December 8, 2016–February 12, 2017, with plans for an international tour to follow.


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