Serpentine Galleries set to wow visitors with two new and unique exhibitions


Marisa Merz and Adrian Villar Rojas are displaying their work


By Andy Baker

The Serpentine Galleries in Kengsington re-open for the Autumn season with two extraordinary exhibitions from acclaimed international artists.

For the first time in her illustrious 50-year career, Marisa Merz’ ‘slightly spooky, slightly beautiful’ selection of paintings, sculptures and installations are on show in the UK.

Her art seems to ‘reflect her physical presence’, where faces appear to come and go.

Casually crafted materials are cleverly woven with obscure everyday items, suggesting her refusal to separate art from everyday life,” said Assistant Curator Rebecca Lewin, 27, from London.

Marisa Merz, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Venice Biennale, could not travel to the UK due to her frail condition, leaving her daughter, a curator herself, to work alongside the gallery team.

The Serpentine Gallery provides a unique space for the solo exhibition, used in a very particular way with the quality of light and chapel-like high ceilings providing visitors with a mystical sense of being.

Further down the road, past the highly visible, must-see, ‘logically illogical’ pavilion, is the newly refurbished Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a former gunpowder store built in 1805, acquired by the gallery in 2009 and magnificently designed by Zaha Hdid Architects.

The building houses Adrian Villar Rojas’ work, which ignites all senses in an incredible way. A giant fallen clay elephant ignores visitors as they walk along a loosely fitted brick floor which clinks and clunks when walked on.

A large room once housing ammunition now displays floor to ceiling shelves of around 2000 unfired clay models, representing a kind of relics and ruins from the future of the past – that past being now.

The figures range in size from a sharks egg to a large scale model of deceased Nirvana lead-singer Kurt Cobain. Some models are an homage to the artists home land, others to his love of Manga, most if not all are imaginative, thought provoking, fear inducing, or confusing (half a chimpanzee with clay intestines pouring out!!).

The twined room next door is same in size, shape and brick building material, only it is void of a single thing – empty, purposely empty. The contrast shakes the senses, again.

The Serpentine Galleries are small but do ambitious things, being inventive with the space, ‘giving the artist the ability to respond to the space provided the way they want’.

Both works are on display from September 28 to November 10 2013.

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