For its first appearance in North America, The Serpentine Gallery is bringing London’s famous “Unzipped” exhibit to Toronto.
According to Canadian development firm and culture company Westbank, it has reconstructed the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion downtown, bringing it back to life in the public realm as it begins a multi-city tour.
The artwork, designed by one of the world’s leading architecture firms, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, will be temporarily located at King and Brant Streets and will open to the public on Saturday, September 15.
Unzipped will provide Torontonians and visitors to the city with an exceptional, curated experience making it a must-see destination throughout its Fall 2018 run.
The Pavilion itself is made of 1802 stacked fibreglass ‘bricks’, stands 14 metres (46 feet) tall at its apex, 27 metres (88.5 feet) long and 12 metres (39 feet) wide, and was was disassembled in London following its 2016 run by the Serpentine Gallery and transported to North America for re-assembly in Toronto.
At the entrance of the Pavilion, visitors will be introduced to the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk — or total design — a philosophy re-invigorated and employed by Westbank in all of its projects — and one which BIG models in its own practice. The design philosophy will come to life as visitors wander through the exhibition.
Organizers say that the presence of the pavilion changes as you move around it and through it.
“The north-south elevation is a perfect rectangle. The east-west silhouette is an undulating sculptural silhouette. Towards the east-west the Pavilion is completely opaque and material. Towards the north-south it is entirely transparent and practically immaterial. Presence becomes absence. Orthogonal becomes curvilinear. Structure becomes gesture,” it’s described in a release.
Toronto is the first stop in what is planned to be a multi-city tour — the first of its kind for a Serpentine Pavilion — before ultimately landing in Vancouver and taking up its permanent home beside Westbank’s Shaw Tower on the waterfront.
By day, the Pavilion and Unzipped exhibition will be open to the public free of charge and in the evening, the innovative space will be a hub for cultural events and lectures that bring Westbank’s commitment to building artistry and community engagement to life.
Check out Unzipped at 533 King Street West for a limited time between 9 am and 5 pm from September 15 to November 30, 2018.