Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Galleries, London (Chapter 7/7)

An experimental conversation with Hans-Ulrich Obrist (Chapter 7/7)

Conversation in-progress…

Conversation transcription below

Tiziana Casapietra: Would you like to tell us more about the projects you are involved in now?
Hans-Ulrich Obrist: Yes, I mean your last question… I think I have answered the last question in many of the previous questions when I was talking about some current projects: the Swiss Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale, Cedric Price and Lucius Burckhardt, “A Stroll through a Fun Palace” which will evolve in other cities where we will build this “Fun Palace” with Tino Sehgal and Philippe Parreno and the other artists and architects involved.
At the same time there is, of course, my main work every day. I work and live in London and besides the exhibitions we do at the Serpentine Galleries, Serpentine Gallery and Serpentine Sackler Gallery, there is the marathon. We have the exhibition of Cerith Wyn Evans at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and Trisha Donnelly at the Serpentine Gallery. They are both artists have developed an extraordinary design kunstwerk, they are really treating the exhibition as a medium and working with the spaces. Trisha Donnelly opened the space to the park and developed an installation with architecture interventions and new films and also a sculpture. It is really a very holistic experience. The more times one spends there, the more one actually discovers how she completely changed the space and used the entire building which almost becomes a sculpture even at the opening where she blasted the inside and the outside. And Cerith Wyn Evans, in a very different way, created this gesamtkunstwerk bringing together many of his works also with sound, experiments and texts, all these dimensions of his practice, films, writing, photography. And obviously now that we have the two spaces connected by a bridge, we do the bridge commission, it is something which for Julia Peyton Jones, Jochen Volz, and myself, is very important and, of course, for our entire team at the Serpentine is very important that the exhibitions are always connected. It’s again about the bridge we discussed earlier, that there isn’t just two exhibitions happening, but there is always a connection between the two shows in the Serpentine and the Serpentine Sackler.
We commission literature, we commission for the bridge, it’s called the bridge commission. Novelists and writers write short stories which one can listen in between the two galleries. We have also a fountain by Bertrand Lavier which will open in front of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery at the same moment as the Marathon will happen with Gustav Metzger, the “Extinction Marathon.” All of that will happen next week, and until the last week-end of Frieze we have the Pavilion of the Chilean architect Smiljan Radić.
I continue to do, of course, projects on week-ends in other cities and so besides the Venice Architecture Biennale project… One second I need to….

Sorry it was an sms emergency.
Tiziana, hello!
So is the second part of my answer to your last question about what I am working on at the moment. Besides my main activity as co-director at the Serpentine Galleries which I have described before, there is also the online project which is the Instagram project which we are doing on handwriting. It’s a movement, it is actually much more than my personal Instagram account, it is really about a movement, a movement to protest against the disappearance of handwriting and this project evolves every day. I would every day post a sentence or several sentences by an artist or an architect or scientist. As we speak they are about to post a sentence by Edna O’Brien a wonderful and amazing Irish, novelist. We will have the day after a new sentence by Gustav Metzger which announces the “Extinction Marathon.”
So the idea of these handwritten messages… Next week we will also have a poem by Etel Adnan which will be posted on the Instagram… I very often also, of course, work on books, for me books have always been connected to the way I work. During the day I work on exhibitions and at night I work on books and interviews and I would say, in terms of books, the idea is now after “Ways of Curating”…

The idea also, with “Ways of Curating,” is that the book can be translated into many languages.
So I kind of believe in this idea of an art book that can become a pure text book, it just can be translated, and that is what is now happening with “Ways of Curating.” I am working there on the next book which has more to do… Anyway, it is too early to announce that, but there is a next book.
There is also the Instagram project, the handwriting project that will become a book and then, of course, my conversation books continue the idea of actually having books of interviews. There is a book connected to Vasari which I am planning to do. But there is also a book of all my interviews and conversations with Peter Fischli & David Weiss and that’s a book which will also come out in the next couple of months.
Are there any other questions? Tiziana, can you hear us?

Max Shackleton: No, that’s it.
HUO: Ah, we are done. Great!
But we forgot many things, I could talk of course about the exhibitions in the future, the exhibitions for next year, maybe we can do that for chapter two, no? I have the feeling there has to be a follow up, because this is only the beginning. There are so many more things to say we forgot about.
We can talk about the exhibitions of the future, we can talk about the books of the future.
Yes, of course, the idea of the unrealized projects. I mean there are my own unrealized projects. Whenever I do a conversation with an artist or an architect I also ask them about their unrealized projects. That has become an agency on eflux of unrealized projects. Hopefully we will facilitate or help that these unrealized projects get realized.
And in a way… Just a second we have one more sms…
I think it’s good, we have enough material. See you soon Tiziana.
A presto, buonanotte. Ciao, ciao. It’s two a.m now, can you hear us?

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Chapter 1 

Chapter 2 

Chapter 3 

Chapter 4

Chapter 5 

Chapter 6 

Chapter 7