Christo Unveils Floating Serpentine Sculpture of Stacked Barrels

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park (2016-18). Photo by Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo.

Acclaimed artist Christo has unveiled a sculpture of 7,506 painted horizontally stacked barrels that floats in the middle of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake in London. On view through September 23, “The London Mastaba” recalls the form of the flat-roofed structures with sloping sides that originated with the first ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park (2016-18). Photo by Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park (2016-18). Photo by Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo.

Weighing nearly 650 tons and measuring approximately 65 feet in height, the pyramidal sculpture’s scrupulously stacked barrels were specifically fabricated and painted in brilliant shades of red, white, blue, and pink, casting a colorful, dappled mosaic across the surface of the water. The sculpture is supported by a scaffolding fastened to a floating platform of high-density polyethylene cubes and its construction took nearly two and a half months to complete.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park (2016-18). Photo by Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park (2016-18). Photo by Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo.

Funded entirely by the Bulgarian-born artist himself, “The London Mastaba” is open to the public, and its initial proposal included an ecological survey to guarantee that it would result in no damage to the lake. The installation is presented in concurrence with a comprehensive retrospective devoted to the work of Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, surveying their 60-year history of working with barrels. “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba” is on view the Serpentine Gallery through September 9.

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