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Bulgarian artist Christo to install a red floating temporary sculpture in London's Hyde Park

Bulgaria - Apr 5, 2018 - 05:19   1931 views

Bulgarian artist Christo is working on a giant floating temporary sculpture to install in London's Hyde Park, and construction preparations has already started on site - it will float on the Serpentine Lake from 18 June (weather permitting) to 23 September 2018. The artist has released his first sketches for the temporary work, with analytical site drawings. 

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Drawing 2017 in two parts 30 1/2 x 26" and 30 1/2 x 12" (77.5 x 66.7 cm and 77.5 x 30.5 cm). Pencil, charcoal, pastel, enamel paint, hand-drawn technical data, map on vellum and tape. Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2017 Christo. 

Titled The Mastaba, this will be the first major outdoor public work by artist Christo in the UK. The temporary sculpture will coincide with an exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries of Christo and Jeanne–Claude’s work (19 June to 9 September 2018), which will include sculptures, drawings, collages and photographs spanning more than 60 years. 

Both projects draw on Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s history of barrel artworks and will be an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to experience the work of one of the most pioneering artists working today.

Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, London. Image © Wolfgang Volz

"For a few months The London Mastaba will be a part of the Serpentine Lake and its natural and urban surroundings,” said Christo. “I am excited to realise this temporary outdoor sculpture in the UK this summer. Like with all of my projects, the construction, maintenance and removal of artwork will be entirely funded by me through the sale of my original works of art," said Christo. 

"The London Mastaba in Hyde Park will be absolutely free to the public—no tickets, no reservations and no owners. It will belong to everyone (until it's gone). I am also looking forward to the Serpentine Gallery exhibition exploring the use of barrels in my works from 1958 to today, which will provide important context for The London Mastaba," Christo added.

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Collage 2017/14 x 11" (35.5 x 28 cm) Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, color photograph by Wolfgang Volz and tape. Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2017 Christo.

Christo’s temporary structure, which will be built by a team of experienced engineers, will consist of 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels on a floating platform in Serpentine Lake. It will be 20 meters (65.5 ft) high x 30 meters (90 ft) wide (at the 60° slanted walls) x 40 meters (130 ft) long. The standard 55 gallon barrels, 59 x 88 cm (2 ft x 3 ft), will be specifically fabricated and painted for this sculpture. 

The sides of the barrels, visible on the top and on the two slanted walls of the sculpture, will be red and white. The ends of the barrels, visible on the two vertical walls, will be different hues of red, blue, and mauve.

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Collage 2018. Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, color photograph by Wolfgang Volz, technical data, map, mylar and tape 8 1/2 x 11" (21.5 x 28 cm). Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2018 Christo

The sculpture’s floating platform will be made of high-density polyethylene cubes held with weighted anchors. A primary steel scaffolding frame is constructed on top of the platform and the barrels are attached to a scaffold substructure. The total weight will be1
approximately 500 tons. The footprint of the sculpture will take up approximately 1% of the total surface area of the lake.

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Drawing 2018 in two parts. Pencil, charcoal, wax crayon, enamel paint, hand-drawn map on vellum, technical data, mylar and tape 15 x 65" and 42 x 65" (38 x 165 cm and 106.6 x 165 cm). Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2018 Christo

While some equipment and materials, such as scaffolding, will be rented and then returned, the other materials will be removed and industrially recycled in the UK following the project. The build of the artwork will be managed to ensure there is no damage to the site, including matting and load distribution to prevent surface damage to the Serpentine walkway. No work is being undertaken on grassed areas. All construction materials will be certified as having low environmental impact to preserve the ecosystem of the lake.

The artwork also presents an opportunity to enhance the conservation area and associated wildlife of Hyde Park. An Ecological Enhancement Strategy was developed with The Royal Parks, which is in accordance with National and Local planning policy. In addition to ensuring that there will be no negative ecological impact on the lake, the surrounding park or its wildlife, a number of substantial investments will be made in the park as a direct result of the project, including ecological works on the Serpentine Island, the creation of new habitats for birds and bats, litter clearance of the Serpentine Lake and re-treatment of the Phoslock system that protects the lake from algal bloom.

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Collage 2017. Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, color photograph by Wolfgang Volz, technical data and tape on brown board 8 1/2 x 11" (21.5 x 28 cm). Private collection, Switzerland. Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2017 Christo

"In keeping with our mission to inspire the widest possible audiences with the urgency of art and architecture, the Serpentine Galleries' exhibition has been thoughtfully curated to coincide with The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake)," said Yana Peel, CEO and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries. 

"Christo’s project will challenge where art can be encountered and by whom and—together with the Serpentine show—provide the UK public with an unprecedented insight into Christo andJeanne-Claude's work. We hope this combined experience will be a highlight of London’ssummer of 2018 in the open landscape for art and ideas of Hyde Park and KensingtonGardens," added Yana Peel, CEO and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Collage 2017. Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, color photograph by Wolfgang Volz, map, technical data and tape 17 x 22" (43.2 x 55.9 cm). Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2017 Christo

The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake) is being funded by Christo. No public money is used for Christo’s projects and he does not accept sponsorship. Christo would like to thank The Royal Parks and the many community and park partners, including Westminster Council and BlueBird Boats. Visitor information about the sculpture and exhibition will be regularly updated on The Royal Parks and Serpentine Galleries websites.

The site of The Mastaba in Serpentine Lake. The footprint of the sculpture will be 30 meters wide (at the 60° slanted walls) x 40 meters long, taking up approximately 1% of the total surface area of the lake. Image courtesy of Christo

Christo and Jeanne-Claude previously created a 10,000-square-metre shimmering yellow fabric, a 3-kilometer-long walkway were extended across the water of Lake Iseo of Italy. 

Christo, 83, and his late wife Jeanne-Claude are among the world's most celebrated artists. The artists began their collaboration in 1961. Their large-scale projects include Wrapped Coast, Australia, 1968–69; Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado, 1970–72; Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972–76; Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Florida, 1980–83; The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975–85; The Umbrellas, Japan–USA, 1984–91; Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971–95; Wrapped Trees, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997–98; The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979–2005; and The Floating Piers, 2014–16. 

Christo is front of his upcoming installation. Image courtesy of Christo

Their work is represented in museums and galleries throughout the globe including the Guggenheim and Metropolitan museums in New York, Tate in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Top image: The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake). Collage 2017/14 x 11" (35.5 x 28 cm) Pencil, wax crayon, enamel paint, color photograph by Wolfgang Volz and tape. Photo: André Grossmann, image © 2017 Christo.

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