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Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings

Zaha Hadid was an architect whose work intrigued and excited us throughout her career until her untimely death in March 2016. Of particular interest to us were her furniture and product designs and in 2004 she was one of a group of forty friends, family and collaborators who each designed a rug to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Hadid’s design features a fluid abstract form typical of her style, which is explored in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery’s current show ‘Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings’. The exhibition presents a range of work, from large-scale paintings to diary doodles, all dated from 1970 to the early 1990s. It offers an insight into the movements that inspired her and shows Hadid developing the artistic themes which heavily influenced her work: explosion, calligraphy, distortion and landscape.

Zaha Hadid Rug Aram Store 40th Anniversary Collection Zaha Hadid rug for Aram Designs


Metropolis 1988 Zaha Hadid Foundation 'Metropolis', 1988; © Zaha Hadid Foundation


“I have always been interested in the concept of fragmentation and with the ideas of abstraction and explosion, de-constructing ideas of repetitiveness and mass production. My work first engaged with the early Russian avant-garde; in particular with the work of Kasimir Malevich – he was an early influence for me as a representative of the modern avant-garde intersection between art and design. Malevich discovered abstraction as an experimental principle that can propel creative work to previously unheard levels of invention; this abstract work allowed much greater levels of creativity.” – Zaha Hadid, 2007

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


The majority of the paintings exhibited depict cityscapes broken into irregular elements. Extruded grids, geometric fragments and colourful organic forms twist and turn creating vibrant works that ebb and flow.

‘Homage to Verner Panton’ caught our attention; it’s a fluid painting that shows sketched Panton chairs repeated, skewed and over-lapping.


Zaha Hadid Homage to Verner Panton ‘Homage to Verner Panton’, 1990; © Zaha Hadid Foundation


Verner Panton Panton Chair Red Black and White Aram Store Panton chairs by Verner Panton for Vitra


‘Confetti ‘The Peak’’ and three other paintings are reimagined as kinetic visuals in a virtual reality experience commissioned by the Serpentine. Hadid’s works could not be better suited to this treatment, which enables the viewer to step inside her futuristic worlds.


Zaha Hadid, Installation view Left: Confetti ‘The Peak’, Hong Kong, China 1982/1983; © Zaha Hadid Foundation. Image © 2016 Hugo Glendinning

The exhibition runs until 12 February 2017.