Work underway on Christo's floating sculpture in London
Bulgarian-born artist Christo, who made his name creating oversized artworks with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, is planning his first major UK project this year. Named the Mastaba, the temporary sculpture will feature thousands of stacked barrels floating on Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, London.
The London Mastaba will consist of a total of 7,506 barrels stacked horizontally into the shape of a trapezoidal prism. The sides of the barrels will be painted red and their ends will be painted in red, blue, and mauve. They will be supported by steel scaffolding and placed atop a floating platform made from high-density polyethylene. The total weight is expected to come in at around 500 tons (455 tonnes).
While some equipment and materials will be rented, all other materials will be recycled in the UK following the project's close. All construction materials will be certified as having low environmental impact too.
"For a few months The London Mastaba will be a part of the Serpentine Lake and its natural and urban surroundings," says Christo. "I am excited to realize this temporary outdoor sculpture in the UK this summer. Like with all of my projects, the construction, maintenance and removal of artwork will be entirely funded by me through the sale of my original works of art. The London Mastaba in Hyde Park will be absolutely free to the public – no tickets, no reservations and no owners. It will belong to everyone (until it's gone)."
Whether for aesthetic reasons, as a commentary on mankind's dependence on oil, or just because they were readily available, barrels have long been a recurring theme in the artist's work. The Mastaba itself, which draws obvious inspiration from the Egyptian tomb of the same name, has cropped up before too, and the artist previously completed a similar project in Texas. He is also planning a Mastaba for Abu Dhabi and claims it will be the largest sculpture in the world.
Construction on the London Mastaba recently began and is planned for completion on June 18. It'll run until September 23 this year and also coincide with an exhibition at the nearby Serpentine Galleries featuring Christo and his wife Jeanne–Claude's body of work.
Source: Christo and Jeanne-Claude