London's Serpentine Gallery

Plethora of Programming

By: - May 16, 2024

The 23rd Serpentine Pavilion, Archipelagic Void, designed by Seoul-based Korean architect Minsuk Cho and his firm Mass Studies opens to the public on 7 June 2024, with Goldman Sachs supporting the annual project for the 10th consecutive year.

Launching a season of specially curated activations, the 23rd Serpentine Pavilion will play host to a new commissioned soundscape, a library and a series of performances and talks. 

Comprised of five ‘islands’, each structure of the Pavilion is unique in size, form, name and purpose, providing a multifaceted platform for Serpentine’s live programme from June to October. 

As the main entry to the Pavilion, the Gallery will play host to a six-channel sound installation created by musician and composer Jang Young-Gyu, presenting The Willow is <???> in the Summer and Moonlight <???> in the Autumn. Taking inspiration from the surrounding environment of the Pavilion, Jang incorporates sounds from nature and human activities recorded in Kensington Gardens with traditional Korean vocal music and instruments. The distinctive tones and melodies trace the changing of seasons. They respond to the constantly transforming landscape and ecology of the Park.   

The Library of Unread Books by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal will be located in the north of the Pavilion. Conceived as an artwork that functions as a ‘living’ reference library, each book has been donated by its previous owner to form a pool of common knowledge. Visitors are welcome to contribute and submit an unread book in their possession to the growing collection. By making these titles accessible, The Library of Unread Books functions as a collective gesture, addressing notions of access and distribution. 

In a nod to the history of the Serpentine building the Tea House will be located to the east of the Pavilion. Designed by James Grey West, the Serpentine South building opened in 1934 and originally functioned as a teahouse until the early 1960s, before reopening as an art gallery in 1970. 

Providing a space for outdoor play, the Pavilion also features the Play Tower, a pyramid structure fitted with a bright orange netscape for visitors to climb and interact. 

To the west, is the Auditorium, the largest structure of the five ‘islands’. With benches built into its inner walls, this space will provide an area for public gathering, performances and talks. 

Starting on Friday 7 June, Minsuk Cho will be in conversation with Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist to discuss the inspirations behind this year’s Pavilion, Cho’s approach to architecture and the history of the commission. 

The Serpentine Pavilion 2024 will also become a platform for Serpentine’s Park Nights, the annual interdisciplinary platform for live encounters in music, poetry, performance, and dance that will see artists create brand new site-specific works. 

Serpentine will present a performance by artist, choreographer and dancer Eun-Me Ahn in June to commence the programme.

In July, Serpentine Arts Technologies will host a day of events exploring the relationship of technology, property, and ecology. Visitors will be invited to become stewards of a collective artwork initiated by Tomás Saraceno and his long-term collaborators, the communities of Salinas Grandes in Jujuy, Argentina. Titled Fairclouds, this unique project builds connections between the cycles of water, information and life. By purchasing a partial common ownership licence and becoming part of an international network of stewards, audiences will support the work of indigenous communities in Argentina. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Serpentine Arts Technologies, RadicalxChange and Aerocene Foundation.

Minsuk Cho, Architect, Mass Studies, said: “We are honoured and grateful to unveil Archipelagic Void in June. To realise the Pavilion, we began by asking what can be uncovered and added to the Serpentine site, which has already featured over twenty historical iterations at the centre of the lawn, from a roster of great architects and artists. To approach this new chapter differently, instead of viewing it as a carte blanche, we embraced the challenge of considering the many existing peripheral elements while exploring the centre as a void. It also begins to address the history of the Serpentine Pavilion. By inverting the centre as a void, we shift our architectural focus away from the built centre of the past, facilitating new possibilities and narratives.”

Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine, said: “Mass Studies’s Serpentine pavilion led by Minsuk Cho is another exciting step forward for this singular commission that has pushed the boundaries of creative experimentation with architecture. We’re thrilled that Archipelagic Void will expand on Serpentine’s evolving history as a site for bringing people together in the park, and our continued mission of building bridges between art and audiences. We are deeply grateful to our loyal partners for sustaining the Pavilion each year and look forward to a summer full of experiences made possible by Cho’s brilliant complex for encounters and collaboration.”

Richard Gnodde, Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs International said: “We are delighted to have collaborated with Serpentine for ten consecutive years on the iconic architectural Pavilion commission. Through the years, the project has attracted a diverse group of architects who have showcased their talents and shared their unique global perspectives. This year, we are looking forward to celebrating Minsuk Cho and his firm Mass Studies. Cho’s design is entirely unique and promises to be a vibrant and fascinating space for us all to enjoy. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Serpentine team and all the supporting partners who collectively continue to make this project a reality. As part of Serpentine’s mission to remain free and open to all, once again, every Kensington Gardens visitor will have the opportunity to engage with this remarkable project.”

Jon Leach, Director at AECOM said: “It is a privilege to collaborate with Serpentine for AECOM’s twelfth year as Technical Advisor and our third year as Project Manager. Every year the project pushes the boundaries of what is possible in architecture, design, driving spontaneity, innovation and creativity to realise the architects’ unique visions. This year’s design by Minsuk Cho and Mass Studies showcases the use of natural timber with a combination of modern and traditional joinery techniques. Its five independent spaces will create a variety of experiences for the public to enjoy."

Tim Leigh, Managing Director of Stage One Creative Services said: "This is the fifteenth Serpentine Pavilion we have constructed for Serpentine. The Pavilions are an enchanting commission, and it is remarkable how each scheme brings its own character and challenges. This year's design is very heavily influenced by architectural and cultural references from South Korea and this has provided us with an opportunity to develop a craft that combines traditional joinery with advanced machining of timber. Each year is an architectural experiment. And Mass Studies have imagined what I'm sure will become an iconic design.”

A catalogue designed by South Korean Seoul-based designers Sulki and Min will accompany the Pavilion. Bringing together contributors from across the world of architecture, art and poetry, all of which inform Cho’s architectural practice, the publication will feature newly commissioned texts including Kenneth Frampton, architect, writer and former Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, professor of cultural studies and founding director of the Centre for Technology in Humanities, Kyung Hee University; Beatrice Galilee, writer, curator and co-founder of The World Around; Renée Green, artist, writer and filmmaker and Kim Hyesoon, award-winning poet, essayist and critic. The catalogue will also include a conversation between Minsuk Cho and Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, alongside a visual exploration of the design and research materials of this year’s commission.

The Serpentine Pavilion commission, which began in 2000 with Dame Zaha Hadid, has been awarded to some of the most significant names and emerging talents in international architecture. The Pavilion has evolved over the years as a participatory public and artistic platform for the Serpentine’s pioneering, interdisciplinary, community and education programmes. 

This year’s Pavilion selection was made by Serpentine CEO Bettina Korek, Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, Director of Construction and Special Projects Julie Burnell, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice Yesomi Umolu, Project Curator Alexa Chow and Curator at Large, Architecture & Site Specific Projects Natalia Grabowska together with advisors Sou Fujimoto and David Glover.


On view at Serpentine

Yinka Shonibare CBE: Suspended States | 12 April – 1 September 2024
The artist’s first London solo exhibition in over 20 years interrogates the ecological impact of colonialisation, imperialism’s legacy on conflict and consequential attempts at peace.

Judy Chicago: Revelations | 23 May – 1 September 2024
Presenting the first major interdisciplinary, immersive institutional exhibition in London of Judy Chicago. Focused on drawing, it will bring together new and little-seen works, preparatory studies alongside audio, visual and new technology materials.

Gerhard Richter, STRIP-TOWER (2023) | 25 April – 27 October 2024
This new large-scale work by one of the most significant artists living today is the latest in a long-standing series of significant public presentations in The Royal Parks since Serpentine’s foundation in 1970.

Atta Kwami, Dzidz? kple amenuveve (Joy and Grace), 2021-22 | Until 1 September 2024
The mural embodies Kwami’s vibrant palette and abstract painting style. It characteristically plays with the colour and form improvisations that are distinctive of Ghanaian architecture and African strip-woven textiles, especially kente, made famous by the Ewe and Asante people of Ghana.