Artist Christo's London Mastaba, a temporary floating sculpture on The Serpentine lake, is now open to the public and will be on view for the next three months. Celebrated artists Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude are known for their ambitious sculptural works that intervene in urban and natural landscapes around the world and temporarily alter both the physical form and visual appearances of sites.
The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park Serpentine Lake) will be Christo’s first outdoor, public work in the UK. The sculpture takes inspiration from mastabas (benches with two vertical sides, two slanted sides, and a flat top) which originated with the first ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.
Measuring about 65ft in height by 98ft and 131ft, the sculpture consist of 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels specifically fabricated and painted in shades of red, white, blue and mauve. The proposal for the temporary sculpture included an ecological survey to ensure no damage to the lake or its surroundings. 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.
Coinciding with the public artwork, the nearby Serpentine Galleries presents the accompanying exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba (1958–2018) on view from June 19th through September 9th. This exhibition presents a major overview of the artist's work drawing specifically on their history of barrel artworks.
The Serpentine show will also showcase unrealized barrel projects at sites including the Suez Canal (1967) and MoMA, New York (1968), and plans for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s most ambitious sculpture yet in the Middle East, which was first conceived in 1977.
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