Paintings of Zaha Hadid: no people, no nature

I walk through Hyde Park in heavy rain to the Magazine, part of the Serpentine Gallery, where Zaha Hadid, one of Britain’s leading architects, designed the restaurant. The park is beautiful in the rain, more beautiful for me than on a sunny day–because of its emptiness. The gallery too is beautiful, both the old and new parts, although I’m not convinced they fit together well. But the exhibition–of Hadid’s paintings and sketch books are disappointing.


They are disappointing to me because of the complete absence of people, trees, anything natural–except rock. Do architects not think of people? Do they enjoy the joke enjoyed by doctors that hospitals work beautifully if they have no patients?


Hadid was inspired by the Soviet Constructionists. They believed that art should support revolution, have a social purpose. Their works do include people (as well as lots of fists), but Hadid was clearly inspired more by their angular, abstract, and futuristic works.

Nothing interested me about the pictures until I noticed the complete absence of people and nature. That interested me, and I began a search for a person. I found only one, and he wasn’t intended to be seen–he sneaked out from a crack in one of Hadid’s sketchbooks. He was a cartoon character, and I could see only a nose and half a face in profile. He might even have been a woman, perhaps even Hadid herself.

Lin and I find a game of deciding which one picture we would take from an exhibition. I would take that tiny character, bringing him out of his futuristic solitude.


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