Therme Art Program

Serpentine, Therme Art and MYTH present COMMUNION at Serpentine Pavilion 2021

COMMUNION gathered artists and visionaries at Serpentine Pavilion for an evening of lectures and performances exploring how art and community supports mental wellbeing. The one-night-only event featured live performances by Tinie Tempah and ENNY and Wellbeing Culture Forum talks with Yomi Adegoke, Sumayya Vally, Torkwase Dyson, Priya Ahluwalia, and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Marking the opening of Frieze London, the Serpentine Pavilion and Therme Art hosted the transdisciplinary collaboration COMMUNION, drawing together leading voices from across the fields of art, architecture, fashion, music, and technology in a multi-disciplinary event exploring the importance of gathering and creative production on mental wellbeing. Designed this year by the Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, the Serpentine Pavilion served as the centrestage and catalyst for the event, which featured performances and talks throughout the evening by musicians including Tinie Tempah and ENNY, architect Sumayya Vally, artist Torkwase Dyson, and fashion designer Priya Ahluwalia. COMMUNION was presented by the Serpentine and Therme Art, in partnership with MYTH, and supported by MYND.

Tinie Tempah at COMMUNION | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

“Today more than ever, it is critical that the architectural community propose creative solutions that can adapt to the needs of diverse communities. Counterspace’s vision for the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion this year does just that, and we are proud to partner with the Serpentine in support of this inspiring multidisciplinary programme that brings artists and creatives together to reflect upon the importance of gathering and interdisciplinary discussion on their creative production and mental wellbeing in our communities,” stated Mikolaj Sekutowicz, CEO and Co-Founder of Therme Art.

Highlights of the evening included the release of a new track by rapper and singer Tinie Tempah and ENNY’s performance of her iconic hit song “Peng Black Girls,” which transformed Counterspace’s Pavilion into a stage that radiated themes of identity, empowerment, community, belonging, and gathering.

ENNY at COMMUNION | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

Tinie Tempah at COMMUNION | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

Panel discussions hosted by Therme Art, as part of their ongoing Wellbeing Culture Forum talks, included a conversation with Counterspace Co-Founder and architect Sumayya Vally, artist Torkwase Dyson, and Serpentine curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, moderated by journalist Yomi Adegoke, that illuminated the influences and creative processes of the design of the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion and its sound piece. The conversation also invited participants and audience alike to meditate on the possibilities of architecture that is conceived to amplify the presence of multiplicity and migration in London and beyond.

Adegoke also moderated a discussion with ENNY, fashion designer Priya Ahluwalia, and Vally, who shared stories from past and present histories, addressing subjects that ranged from diaspora, migration, and intergenerationally, to gentrification and identity, and that paid homage to the strength and beauty of Black existence.


Wellbeing Culture Forum at COMMUNION | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

In between the Wellbeing Culture Forum talks, curator and art critic Daniel Birnbaum and Hans Ulrich Obrist introduced artist Carsten Höller’s digital extension of his most recent monographic exhibition at the MAAT Museum, DAY. The digital work, produced and displayed by Acute Art via their App, titled 7.8 (Reduced Reality App), augments and reduces reality through the flickering of screens at 7.8 Hz, a frequency that stimulates brain wave frequencies and may induce hallucinatory effects. Gathered at the Pavilion, guests experienced Höller’s work together as a shared art experience.

“We are so excited that tonight’s event at Sumayya Vally’s 20th Serpentine Pavilion is all about communion with and in our environment. This evening demonstrates how architecture, art and culture can break and proliferate into our cities and reach communities that have found difficulty in accessing these projects for generations now,” remarked Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries.

Wellbeing Culture Forum at COMMUNION | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

The 2021 edition of the Serpentine Pavilion opened to the public on June 11 in Kensington Gardens, with smaller fragments presented across the city of London, illustrating the power of architecture to inspire a sense of community, identity, belonging, and gathering back into our lives. The Pavilion’s abstract, superimposing and interlaced sculptural elements reference the architecture of local restaurants, markets, bookshops, and cultural institutions that played a significant role in the vitalisation of cross-cultural communities during their migration into neighborhoods such as Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Peckham, and Notting Hill, among others.

COMMUNION at the 20th Serpentine Pavilion | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

Sumayya Vally stated: “It has been an incredible journey to see such a diversity of uses and voices giving life to and shaping the life of the Pavilion. I am so honored to have been a part of this journey, and I’m excited to continue to work on growing and developing the work and engagements that the Pavilion has seeded.”

Since first launching in 2000, the Serpentine Pavilion has become an emblem of belonging and community engagement in the buzzing heart of metropolitan London, providing people with an inspiring and creative space to congregate and share creatively with one another. Therme Art has served as the lead support of the Serpentine’s annual architectural commissions programme for three consecutive editions.

COMMUNION at the 20th Serpentine Pavilion | Photo: Harry Richards Photography

COMMUNION is part of a series of collaborations initiated by MYND and Therme Mind, a mental health and wellbeing initiative first launched at Design Miami/Basel 2021, as it supported the transdisciplinary installation Shy Synchrony by DRIFT, presented by Superblue. MYND makes pioneering neuroscience technology and findings available to leading artists for the realisation of art and cultural production encouraging mental health and wellbeing.