Zaha Hadid is widely regarded as a pioneering and visionary architect whose contribution to the world of architecture was ground-breaking and innovative. The Serpentine presentation, first conceived with Hadid herself, reveals her as an artist with drawing at the very heart of her work and will include the architect’s calligraphic drawings and rarely seen private notebooks with sketches that reveal her complex thoughts about architectural forms and their relationships. The show focuses on Hadid’s early works before her first building was erected in 1993 (Vitra Fire Station in Germany) and presents her paintings and drawings from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The exhibition takes place at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, renovated and extended by Zaha Hadid Architects in 2013. A select number of institutions and museums across the world join in this timely homage to Zaha Hadid.
Drawing and painting were fundamental to Hadid’s practice. Influenced by Malevich, Tatlin and Rodchenko, she used calligraphic drawings as the main method for visualising her architectural ideas. For Hadid, painting was a design tool, and abstraction an investigative structure for imagining architecture and its relationship to the world we live in. These works on paper and canvas unravel an architecture that Hadid was determined to realise in built structures and is seen in the characteristic lightness and weightlessness of her buildings. Conceived as Hadid’s manifesto of a utopian world, the show reveals her all-encompassing visions of arranging space and interpreting realities.
Many of Hadid’s paintings pre-empt the potential of digital and virtual reality. Technology and innovation has always been central to the work of Zaha Hadid Architects: As Patrik Schumacher, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects said “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”.