Barrels for London

From June 18 on, the sculpture “The Mastaba” by Christo will be visitable in London’s Hyde Park. It’s the first large-size installation by the Bulgarian-born artist in Great Britain who became popular by wrapping the Berlin Reichstag.

Egyptian Tomb

The art installation “The Mastaba” refers to a type of burial structure from ancient Egypt. The predecessor of the pyramid has a rectangular base and sloping side walls: like a pyramid with its tip missing. In addition, the installation that will be placed in London also is a reference to a piece of art in the desert of Abu Dhabi that has been planned since 1977. The design for Abu Dhabi exceeds earlier projects by far – even though Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, have always been known for the large scale of their projects. With 150 meters in height, the installation will tower the Giza Pyramid and will be entirely made from 400,000 painted barrels. Christo has continued working on this projects since his wife’s death. It is going to be the only permanent installation by the artist.

Computer simulation of the work progress of “The Mastaba” in the desert of Abu Dhabi:

Mastaba In London

From June 18 to September 23, the smaller Mastaba will be a part of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. At the same time, Serpentine Gallery will host an exhibition about Christo’s and Jeanne-Claude’s work during the last six decades, presenting collages, drawings and photographs. A highlight of the exhibition will be the couple’s work with barrels since 1965. The artists chose this building material for its “sculptural effect” and its low costs.
Like all his other public projects, “The Mastaba” will be publicly accessible free of admission and paid by selling other works. For the duration of its existence, the installation is meant to belong to all its visitors.

Stacked Barrels

The installation consists of a floating platform on which 7,506 barrels are stacked horizontally to a height of 20 meters. The barrels at the sloped sides will be painted in red and white, those at the two vertical walls of the sculpture in different nuances of red, blue and mauve.

Protecting The Lake

Christo also had sustainability in mind. The materials used are certified to not burden the ecosystem of the river. To prevent waste, the scaffolding is borrowed and all the other elements will be industrially reused after the exhibition’s end.