Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton Jones: The Serpentine Pavilion - Pushing Boundaries in Architecture

The Serpentine Pavilion in London is an iconic annual architectural commission in Kensington Gardens renowned as a site for architectural experimentation. Serpentine Galleries' director Julia Peyton-Jones and co-director Hans-Ulrich Obrist visited Goldman Sachs to discuss pushing boundaries in art and architecture.

Peyton-Jones, on challenging museum traditions: “The first time [Obrist] and I collaborated was in 1995, when I invited him to curate a show at the gallery called “Take Me, I’m Yours”, a very radical idea whereby anybody coming to the Serpentine could take and touch and use and experience all the elements of the show. Of course, the whole idea of museum galleries is that you don’t touch anything, so it really turned that whole idea of engaging with contemporary art on its head.”

Obrist, on shifting focus to emerging architects: “We recently realized that a new generation of architects have now started to build amazing things. Beginning with Sou Fujimoto, then last year Smiljan Radić of Chile, and this year with SelgasCano, it’s now the third time in a row that we are working with this younger emerging generation, which is a very exciting experience and is pushing [the commission] into another dimension.”

Peyton-Jones, on her ambitions as a curator: “The opportunity we have been given with a small scale is to really work harder. The gallery never, ever looks the same for two exhibitions. If you have a small space, you have to reinvent it, recreate it and rethink it every time.”