Architecture

Christo's massive Mastaba sculpture to reach almost 500 feet in height

Christo's massive Mastaba scul...
The Mastaba's barrels will be arranged into a mosaic pattern inspired by traditional Islamic architecture
The Mastaba's barrels will be arranged into a mosaic pattern inspired by traditional Islamic architecture
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The Mastaba is planned for a desert location 160 km (roughly 100 miles) south of Abu Dhabi, UAE
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The Mastaba is planned for a desert location 160 km (roughly 100 miles) south of Abu Dhabi, UAE
The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude's only permanent, large-scale public artwork
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The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude's only permanent, large-scale public artwork
The Mastaba will consist of 410,000 multicolored steel barrels
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The Mastaba will consist of 410,000 multicolored steel barrels
The Mastaba will reach a height of 150 meters (492 feet)
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The Mastaba will reach a height of 150 meters (492 feet)
The Mastaba's barrels will be arranged into a mosaic pattern inspired by traditional Islamic architecture
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The Mastaba's barrels will be arranged into a mosaic pattern inspired by traditional Islamic architecture
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Though influential artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have both passed away, work has posthumously continued to bring their unique artistic vision to life. Now a plan is underway to complete another of their unrealized artworks, which is being hailed by their team as the world's largest permanent contemporary work of art.

The Mastaba – not to be confused with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's temporary floating London Mastaba – was originally conceived by the artists back in 1977. Assuming it actually goes ahead, it will roughly resemble the ancient burial tomb of the same name.

The sculpture is currently planned for the desert area of Liwa, around 160 km (100 miles) south of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude's only permanent, large-scale public work. It will consist of 410,000 stacked steel barrels of different colors (it's not yet clear how they'll be secured), carefully arranged to create a mosaic that's inspired by traditional Islamic architecture.

It will be a huge artwork, reaching a height of 150 m (492 ft). To put that into perspective, it will be significantly taller than Egypt's iconic Great Pyramid of Giza, half the height of Paris' Eiffel Tower, and roughly the same height as two Boeing 747-8 aircraft stacked tail to tip – the whole thing seems so ambitious as to be unlikely, but then much of the artists' work was.

The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude's only permanent, large-scale public artwork
The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude's only permanent, large-scale public artwork

The project is still in the planning stage and Christo and Jeanne-Claude's team is currently seeking government approval to move it forward. If all goes well, it will take at least three years to construct and will be led by Christo's nephew Vladimir Yavachev, who worked with the artists for three decades and was also the director behind the L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped project.

As always with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's works, the project will be self-financed. It will also be their final artwork to be realized, says their team.

Source: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

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8 comments
8 comments
ReservoirPup
Thank for the news, Adam. Yes, it'd be huge and made of steel. Hence it should remain a 1977 great concept unless we think mountains of rubbish and lakes of refuse need an artsy augmentation. Make it of laminated timber but much smaller, put PV modules all over (use various hues of cells) and here you have a darkish in appearance, but so much up to date installation. The size of it, even if implemented from nature-friendly materials, is a liability imho. If you’ve got little to say, shouting is of no help.
Spud Murphy
Another pointless waste of resources under the guise of art. It's not like it would be interesting, functional or nice to look at. I'm sure those 410,000 steel barrels could have a much better use...
Ornery Johnson
Christo already built a mastaba comprising 7,000 plastic barrels on the Thames River near London. It evoked immature silliness and a complete lack of imagination, like a little boy who wanted to see how high he could stack his building blocks..."Hey Mom! Come Look!"

Reservoir Pup's comment rings true: "If you've got little to say, shouting doesn't help." None of Christo's work has ever had much to say.
Dan Lewis
Steel barrels? Maintaining it will be a nightmare. Phooey.
PLASTIC should be used. We just happen to have several gigantic blobs of plastic conglomerations in our oceans.
At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.
epochdesign
On a planet with limited resources on the cusp of environmental collapse, this is one of the most irrational, ignorant, small-minded projects anyone could possibly imagine, let alone follow through to completion. We've got a lot of serious problems on this planet which need solving and which need money and resources. This project is not art, and it doesn't help; its screaming to the world that you don't give a F###. How about using the concept and resources for a long-term project that helps people in need, in a country in need? And I'm not talking about hiring locals of a 3rd-world country that you pay slave wages for a short term project as an effigy to an artist who wasn't. My suggestion: If you're trying to leave an expensive legacy for Christo, leave a legacy that shows sensitivity, care and respect, not ignorance, indifference and apathy.
Nelson Hyde Chick
They are dead and we still have to put-up with their overindulgent crap? One of their stupid projects \even got a couple people killed.
ljaques
Halfa wonked-out pyramid. Oh.So.Creative.
Gary Robinson
epochdesign ........ You said everything I was going to post :) I want to hear how the "artists" spin any kind of positive reason for doing this POS. It's not art ... but people will be too worried about being "uncool" to say exactly how they feel about it. YES - make it out of all the plastic that we skim from the Pacific Ocean and at least have a real reason for doing it.