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Christo’s “London Mastaba” Unveiled in London

Christo’s “London Mastaba” Unveiled in London
“The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park 2016 – 2018,” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Photo: Wolfgang Volz, © Christo
(Courtesy: Serpentine Galleries)

“The London Mastaba” is a temporary sculpture by world acclaimed artist Christo, which was recently unveiled in London’s Hyde Park. This public work featuring horizontally stacked colorful barrels on a floating platform will be on view until September 23, 2018 on the park’s Serpentine Lake.

“The London Mastaba” marks the first major outdoor public work by Christo in the UK coinciding with an exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries of Christo and his late wife Jeanne–Claude’s work.

“Christo’s ‘The London Mastaba,’ the construction of which began in April 2018, comprises 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels on a floating platform, 20 metres (65.5 ft) high x 30 metres (90 ft) wide (at the 60° slanted walls) x 40 metres (130 ft) long. Standard 55 gallon barrels, 59 x 88 cm (2 ft x 3 ft), were fabricated and painted for the sculpture, while the sides of the barrels, visible on the top and on the two slanted walls of the sculpture, are red and white. The ends of the barrels, visible on the two vertical walls, are blue, mauve, and a different hue of red,” stated Designboom.

The sculpture’s floating platform is made of interlocking high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cubes and is held in place with 32 six-tonne anchors. The barrel-supporting substructure consists of scaffolding and a steel frame that connects to the floating platform.

The sculpture’s total weight is 600 metric tonnes and its footprint takes up approximately 1% of the total surface area of the lake. All construction materials are certified as having low environmental impact to preserve the ecosystem of the lake.

The sculpture is being paid for entirely by the artist and also presents a unique opportunity for enhancements to the conservation area and associated wildlife. As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, “The London Mastaba” is funded through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. No public money will be used and Christo does not accept sponsorship.

“For three months ‘The London Mastaba’ will be a part of Hyde Park’s environment in the centre of London, the colors will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the serpentine lake will be like an abstract painting. It has been a pleasure to work with the royal parks to realize ‘The London Mastaba’ and with our friends at the serpentine galleries to create an exhibition showing Jeanne-Claude’s and my 60-year history of using barrels in our work,” Designboom quoted Christo.                              

Founder: Louise Blouin