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Zaha Hadid: Before Her First Building

An exhibition of Zaha Hadid’s early drawings and paintings will reveal how the late architect employed artistic methods to express and discover her cutting-edge ideas for architecture.

  • Wireframe Sculpture Perspective – 2010 ‘Victoria City Aerial' Berlin, Germany, 1988; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • Sketch Selection from Sketchbook 2001; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • 'Metropolis', 1988; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • Confetti ‘The Peak’, Hong Kong, China 1982/1983; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • Hafenstrasse Development; Hafenstrasse Development, Hamburg, Germany, 1989; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • ‘Vision for Madrid’, Spain, 1992; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • Concept Painting, Cardiff Bay Opera House, Wales, UK, 1994-1996; © Zaha Hadid Foundation

  • Zaha Hadid by Brigitte Lacombe © Brigitte Lacombe



BY Janice Seow

February 9th, 2017


An exhibition of the late Zaha Hadid’s (1950-2016) early paintings, calligraphic drawings and private notebooks will travel to ArtisTree in Taikoo Place this March. Titled Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End To Experimentation, the exhibition, conceived by the Serpentine Galleries and Zaha Hadid Design, first opened at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London in 2016. It focuses on Hadid’s early paintings and drawings created from the 1970s to the early 1990s, including Hadid’s first internationally acclaimed project, The Peak (1982-1983), which was conferred the top prize in a Hong Kong-based design competition.

“We are honoured to bring this expanded exhibition of our friend and long-term collaborator Zaha Hadid to Hong Kong – the very place that launched her reputation as a global architectural pioneer,” says Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Artistic Director and Yana Peel, CEO. The very idea to curate an exhibition of Hadid’s early drawings and paintings stemmed from one of her many conversations with Obrist.

“Her declaration that ‘there should be no end to experimentation’ has not only become a mantra for the Serpentine Galleries but is the basis on which this showcase of Zaha’s visionary talent and legacy was conceived in her own lifetime,” say Obrist and Peel.

An ode to Hadid’s lifelong belief in experimentation, the exhibition will provide intimate insights into the creative process of the late architect, who viewed drawing and painting as creative tools that enabled her to express and discover new ideas. Although most of her works were deemed impossible to build at the time, due to technological constraints, (her first building was only erected when she was 43), her intricate works on paper and canvas reveal the dynamic, light and limitless qualities that would eventually come to define her world-renowned buildings.

Apart from showcasing 2D works, the Hong Kong edition will include four experimental virtual reality experiences – specially developed in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, as well as a screening room featuring exclusive footage from the Zaha Hadid archive. For an immersive gallery experience, visitors can also look forward to a mobile tour available through their phones, featuring stories, audio clips and additional drawings from the Hadid collection.

Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End to Experimentation will run from 17 March to 6 April 2017 at ArtisTree, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong. It is the closing presentation for the ArtisTree, before it is relocated to a new address.