The London Mastaba

Until 23 September 2018

Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake, London.


Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude are among the world’s most celebrated artists, known for their ambitious, large-scale works of art that alter both the physical form and visual appearance of sites for a short period of time, before returning environments to their original states. Their many celebrated public projects include Wrapped Coast, Sydney, Australia, 1968–69; Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971–95; The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979–2005; and more recently The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014–16. Their work is represented in museums and galleries internationally, including the Guggenheim and Metropolitan museums in New York, Tate in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. 

Christo, The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake), Collage 2018: 43.1 x 55.9, Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, colour photograph by Wolfgang Volz, map, technical data, mylar and tape, Photo: André Grossmann © 2018 Christo


The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake), a temporary sculpture made of stacked barrels, is Christo’s first major public outdoor work in the UK. The geometric form of this sculpture takes inspiration from ancient mastabas – benches with two vertical sides, two slanted sides and a flat top – which originate from the first urban civilisations of Mesopotamia. Twenty metres in height, the structure consists of 7,506 horizontally-stacked coloured barrels, specifically fabricated and painted in hues of red, blue, mauve and white, and secured on a floating platform. All materials are certified as having low environmental impact to preserve the ecosystem of the lake. An Ecological Enhancement Strategy was also developed with The Royal Parks. The sculpture is being paid for entirely by the artist, through the sale of his original works of art. 

This sculpture coincides with a Serpentine Galleries exhibition of Christo and Jeanne–Claude’s work, specifically their use of barrels over sixty years. Together, The London Mastaba and exhibition present an opportunity to experience the vision and ambitions of these pioneering artists.


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