The artist is using his Black Chapel to reflect on race, society and family and to bring people together
One of the ironies of architecture is that the simplest of forms can provoke the most profound symbolic, historical, personal and emotional associations. And this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, Black Chapel, is a very simple form indeed. The slightly sinister black cylinder rises from the green lawn of Kensington Gardens like a charred grain silo, perhaps an oil or a paint can, even a wall of death. The enigmatic black material which seems to soak up the light turns out to be off-the-shelf roofing membrane and is the giveaway. This strange structure could only be a work by Chicago artist Theaster Gates.