Scaffold Episodes 95 / 96: Hans Ulrich Obrist

The pioneering curator maps the deep connections between art, architecture, and a vast web of disciplines besides.

Hans Ulrich Obrist – curator and artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries in London – embodies a state of perpetual motion. Since the age of 16 he has been on the move, compulsively travelling to speak with artists and architects in their studios (as well as with some of the world’s most significant scientists, writers, philosophers, filmmakers and poets). For the past four decades he has tirelessly pushed at the boundaries of curatorial practice through his celebrated ‘interview marathons’ and his making of exhibitions in the most unlikely of places, including kitchens, hotel rooms, airplanes and sewers.

Known as “the curator who never sleeps”, in his two-part Scaffold interview Obrist reflects on the evolution of his frenetic work life: “I sleep more to dream more.”

He also reflects on his key sources motivation, including a near-fatal car accident in his childhood, his early encounters with art in unlikely places, and his discovery of figures such as Aby Warberg, Robert Walser, and Giorgio Vasari, the latter of whom chronicled the lives of renaissance artists and architects in equal measure.

In part 2 of the interview we attempt to explore the more personal facets of Obrist’s work and life, including whether growing older has altered his relationship to contemporary culture, how artists like the late Etel Adnan have mentored him, and the impasse he’s struggling to overcome around his own unrealised work.

Episode 95: Hans Ulrich Obrist (Part 1)

Episode 96: Hans Ulrich Obrist (Part 2)





Scaffold is a podcast series featuring interviews with architects, artists and designers. Hosted by Matthew Blunderfield and produced by the Architecture Foundation, it is available on Apple PocastsSpotify, and most major podcast streaming platforms.

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