Nationality: Swiss, British
Last Year: 2
It’s been a busy year on the home front (London’s Serpentine Gallery, where Peyton- Jones is director and Obrist codirector of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects) for this dynamic duo. There have been well-received (and occasionally groundbreaking) solo exhibitions for Anri Sala (who will occupy the French Pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale), Lygia Pape, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Yoko Ono and Thomas Schütte, a summer pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, (reprising their celebrated collaboration on the Beijing Olympic stadium), the culmination of three years of research on a community project (with strong ties to artists from the Middle East and the Arab diaspora) at the Edgware Road Project, as well as numerous talks, discussions and special events. It’s been so busy in fact that next year the gallery will open a 900sqm second space (also located in Hyde Park), the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. But the home front is not the real reason why Obrist and Peyton-Jones have been regulars near the top of this list. There’s no one quite as energetic, enthusiastic and generous as Obrist when it comes to creating opportunities for artists and hooking up potential collaborations in the wider artworld. A man for whom the term ‘postdisciplinary’ could almost have been invented, Obrist’s preoccupations range far and wide beyond the field of art (this year he will bring a 24-hour conference about memory to the Serpentine) and are only matched in scope by his ability to pop up at every significant art event around the world. As well as publishing more of his ongoing Conversations Series this year – the latest with Jeff Koons – Obrist has managed to contribute to Documenta 13, continue to advise Maja Hoffmann and her LUMA Foundation, begin a three-part exhibition at Lina Bo Bardi’s Glass House in São Paulo, host a couple of sessions at the Digital Life Design conference, zip over to Los Angeles to launch the Institute of the 21st Century, started in the spirit of the late historian Eric Hobsbawm’s call to ‘protest against forgetting’ and aimed at digitising and making publicly available more than 2,500 hours of recordings of Obrist’s discussions and interviews.