Art I 18.06.18 I by

Christo floats a 600-tonne barrel sculpture on London’s Serpentine

Artist Christo has built a 20-metre-high floating sculpture on London’s Serpentine Lake inspired by the Islamic tombs.

The London Mastaba – a summer-long installation – comprises 7,506 painted barrels that have been stacked horizontally on a floating platform made from polyethylene cubes. A steel scaffolding rig holds the red, mauve and blue barrels in place and is anchored to the lake by 32 six-tonne weights.

Says Christo: ‘The colours will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting.’

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park 2016-1018. Photography: Wolfgang Volz
Photography: Wolfgang Volz

The brightly coloured, 600-tonne structure is a tribute to his late wife Jeanne-Claude, and riffs on the traditional trapezoid shape of Islamic mastabas tombs, which have their origins in Mesopotamia and were adopted by the Egyptians.

Christo’s London Mastaba covers 1% of the Serpentine Lake’s surface and was entirely self-funded by the artist through the sale of previous works. In keeping with Jeanne-Claude’s belief in making free art, the floating structure – which is Christo’s first major outdoor UK work – is free to view and will be in situ until 23 September.

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park 2016-1018. Photography: Wolfgang Volz
Photography: Wolfgang Volz

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are best known for their barrel sculptures and worked in collaboration from the 1960s until Jeanne-Claude’s death in 2009.

A major exhibition of the couple’s work, entitled Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958–2018, coincides with the installation, running at the Serpentine Galleries from 19 June to 9 September.

Read next: Frida Escobedo’s 2018 Serpentine Pavilion is a cultural compass

Commissioning editor at The Spaces.

Latest Stories

Latest Stories

Share Tweet
+

Our privacy policy has changed - please go here to update your preferences.

Privacy Policy