Christo’s First UK Outdoor Public Sculpture Opens on the Serpentine Lake

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The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz

The “London Mastaba” has opened in Hyde Park. A temporary sculpture floating on the Serpentine Lake, the project is the first major public outdoor sculpture in the United Kingdom designed by the artist Christo. The opening comes as new photographs by Wolfgang Volz are released which chart the construction and completion of the striking art piece.

Featuring 7,506 horizontally-stacked barrels floating on the Serpentine Lake, the Mastaba coincides with an exhibition of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work at the Serpentine Galleries featuring sculptures, drawings, collages, and photographs spanning more than 60 years.

Workers building the inner frame of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang VolzWorkers screw together the sculpture's steel frame. Image © Wolfgang VolzWorkers installing barrels on the vertical side of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang VolzThe London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz+ 20

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The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz
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The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Volz’s photographs document the construction of the scheme built to a height of 65 feet (20 meters) by a team of engineers. The barrels were specifically fabricated and painted for the sculpture, a blend of red, white, blue and mauve. The sculpture sits on a floating platform made of high-density polyethylene cubes held with weighted anchors, with a steel scaffolding frame giving the sculpture rigidity.

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Workers assemble the sculpture's floating platform, made of high-density polyethylene cubes. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Workers assemble the sculpture’s floating platform, made of high-density polyethylene cubes. Image © Wolfgang Volz
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Workers placing barrels on the roof of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Workers placing barrels on the roof of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the exhibition will be the artists’ first in a UK public institution since 1979 and will showcase their long-running exploits with barrel forms, chosen initially for their sculptural effect and low cost.

The Mastaba has been supported by The Royal Parks, Westminster Council, and BlueBird Boats, but was funded by Christo, without the use of public money. The project is free for all to view from June 18th to September 23rd, at which point a majority of the materials comprising the sculpture will be removed and industrially recycled in the UK.

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Workers installing barrels on the vertical side of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Workers installing barrels on the vertical side of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz
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Workers screw together the sculpture's steel frame. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Workers screw together the sculpture’s steel frame. Image © Wolfgang Volz

The Mastaba’s opening comes amidst a flurry of activity at Hyde Park, with the opening of the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion by Frida Escobedo taking place in the previous week.

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On top of the floating platform, workers install the steel frame of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz

On top of the floating platform, workers install the steel frame of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz
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Barrels being installed on the slanted wall of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz

Barrels being installed on the slanted wall of the London Mastaba. Image © Wolfgang Volz

News via: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

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