Christo has unveiled The London Mastaba, a 20-metre-high temporary sculpture in London‘s Hyde Park. The sculpture, which consists of 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels on a floating platform in the Serpentine Lake, will be on view until 23 September 2018. The London Mastaba is the first major outdoor public work by Christo in the UK, and it coincides with an exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries of Christo and his late wife Jeanne–Claude’s work, which opens today and continues until 9 September 2018.
Christo’s 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.
The sculpture’s floating platform is made of interlocking high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cubes and is held in place with 32 6-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 tonnes and its footprint takes up approximately 1% of the total surface area of the lake.
Importantly, all construction materials are certified as having low environmental impact to preserve the ecosystem of the lake. The removal of the sculpture will begin on 23 September 2018. While some equipment and materials, such as scaffolding, have been rented and will be returned, the other materials will be removed and industrially recycled in the UK following the project. The London Mastaba is being entirely funded by Christo, through the sale of his original works of art. No public money is used for Christo’s projects and he does not accept sponsorship.
“For three months, the London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park’s environment in the centre of London,” says Christo. “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.”
No tickets or reservations are needed for the exhibition or The London Mastaba. Hyde Park is open daily from 5AM – midnight and the Serpentine Galleries are open 10AM-6PM, daily, throughout the summer. Entry is free.
all images by Wolfgang Volz, © 2018 Christo