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