American-Bulgarian artist Christo, known for his stye of wrapping objects, monuments, buildings, and landscapes in fabric, debuted his latest artwork last week on the Serpentine Lake in London's Hyde Park. Dubbed "the London Mastaba," the trapezoid-shaped sculpture, named after the ancient Egyptian type of tomb, is made of 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels. This large installation is sitting on a floating platform made of high-density polyethylene cubes that are anchored to the lake bed. Measuring 65.5 feet tall by 90 feet wide and 130 feet long, the sculpture weighs about 660 tons and is secured to a steel scaffolding structure.
The London Mastaba, which coincides with an exhibition of the artist and his late wife and partner Jeanne-Claude's work at the Serpentine Galleries (on view through Sept. 9), is Christo's first major outdoor installation in the United Kingdom. "The sculpture and the exhibition both draw on Christo and Jeanne-Claude's history of using barrels to create works of art," states the artist's website. In 1968, the couple created a mastaba-shaped sculpture at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and since then have been seeking a site for a large-scale floating version of their mastaba artwork, according to the same source.
Each barrel is 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall and is specifically fabricated and painted for this installation. Barrels used on the top and on the sculpture's two slanted walls are painted in red and white, while those used on the sculpture's two vertical walls are painted in different hues of red, blue, and purple.
The London Mastaba is on view through Sept. 23.