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Serpentine Gallery

  • Art
  • Hyde Park
  • price 0 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. © John Offenbach
    © John Offenbach
  2. Summer pavilion by Smiljan Radic 2014 - © John Offenbach
    Summer pavilion by Smiljan Radic 2014 - © John Offenbach
  3. Summer pavilion by Smiljan Radic 2014 - © John Offenbach
    Summer pavilion by Smiljan Radic 2014 - © John Offenbach
  4. Family day © Benedict Johnson
    Family day © Benedict Johnson
  5. © John Offenbach
    © John Offenbach

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The secluded location to the west of the Long Water in Kensington Gardens makes this small and airy gallery for contemporary art an attractive destination. A rolling two-monthly programme of exhibitions featuring up-to-the-minute artists along with the recent opened Sackler Gallery just over the water keeps the Serpentine in the arts news, as does the annual Serpentine Pavilion: every spring an internationally renowned architect is commissioned to build a new pavilion that opens to the public between June and September. There's a good little art bookshop too, which handily stays open in between exhibitions while the gallery space itself closes.


Kensington Gardens
W2 3XA
Tube: Lancaster Gate/Knightsbridge/South Kensington
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-6pm. Check website for seasonal variations
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What’s on

Georg Baselitz: Sculptures 2011-2015

Georg Baselitz, the giant of post-1960s German art, loves a gimmick. With his paintings, that’s turning them upside down to disrupt pictorial conventions. With his sculptures, the subject of this Serpentine show, it’s carving them out of a single huge piece of wood. The monumental figures on display are enormous, rough things. They’re carved with a chainsaw and chisel, covered in cuts and deep mechanical gouges. Some are long legs teetering on high heels, others are full bodies, some figures are skulls, others are couples, their arms intertwined. Loops of wood appear repeatedly, carved out of the tree and free moving but inseparable from the trunk itself.  What are they about, what do they represent? Not even Baselitz seems to know. His accompanying texts talk about rattles, cocoa whisks, train tracks, Western films, prunes. He sees the work as ‘a question’, or an extension of German philosophical traditions. That leaves it open the viewer to interpret. Are they about mortality, physicality, philosophy, the battle of man vs nature? Or are they just some faux-primitive, pompous, ugly wood carvings? A boy with his chainsaw toy who can’t stop playing with himself?  I’m in the latter camp, I don’t think they’re good sculptures, and I don’t think there are any good ideas here. But maybe I just can’t see the wood for the trees.

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