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Hans-Ulrich Obrist: A Career in a Straight Line

Published on , by Pierre Naquin

To mark the publication of his autobiography, we talked to the artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries about his work, the role artists play in his life and his views on the current art market model.

© ANDREW QUINN Hans-Ulrich Obrist: A Career in a Straight Line


He has been one of ArtReview's famous Power 100 since 2003, even topping the list twice. The multilingual, multicultural, multifaceted Hans-Ulrich Obrist now heads the Serpentine Galleries after working as Contemporary Art Director at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris until 2005. Born in Zurich in 1968, he began his career with a grant from the Fondation Cartier, awarded at the time by Jean Deloisy. His singular approach mingling art, architecture, literature and philosophy has earned him worldwide recognition and numerous honors. How did this autobiography come about? Bernard Comment, my editor at Le Seuil, encouraged me to write it in 2016. I had already published several books, mostly in English with Penguin, mainly about exhibition curating, institutions and artists. However, Bernard felt that my list lacked a more intimate book. It was an idea I had always cherished but never found the time for. During the 2020 lockdown, Bernard called me every day, telling me it was now or never. At the same time, the artist Rosemarie Trockel advised me to get my parents to talk, as this could…
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