Art And Culture

Tomb of Barrels Floats in Hyde Park

Christo Javacheff stands in front of his “The London Mastaba” in Hyde ParkChristo Javacheff stands in front of his “The London Mastaba” in Hyde Park

With over 7,000 oil barrels, Bulgarian-American sculptor, photographer and conceptual artist Christo Javacheff, 83, has installed a 600-ton, 20-meter high floating sculpture on the lake of London’s Hyde Park.

Unveiled on June 18, Christo’s latest sculpture is a mastaba, an ancient Egyptian tomb with a rectangular base, sloping sides, and a flat roof. It is made with 7,506 red, white and mauve barrels, and has taken temporary residence amid the aquatic wildlife on Hyde Park’s lake, Reuters reported.

“For three months, “The London Mastaba” will be a part of Hyde Park’s environment in the center of London,” Christo said. “The colors will transform with the changes in the light, and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting.”

Work started in April to stack the 55-gallon barrels into their cut-off pyramid shape on a floating platform 40 meters long and 30 meters wide. Thirty-two anchors hold the structure in place.

Christo was joined at the launch by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the Serpentine Galleries, two contemporary art galleries in Kensington Gardens of Hyde Park.

Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, are known for such projects as “The Gates”, a 2005 installation in New York’s Central Park, and “Wrapped Reichstag” (wrapping the old German Parliament building in an aluminum-colored fabric) in Berlin in 1995.

Members of the Serpentine Swimming Club must now swim down a narrow channel and avoid bumping into the platform that keeps the structure afloat. “It casts a shadow on the water. We’re swimming in gloom,” complained one regular.

“It’s an affront to nature,” said another, referring to the red, blue and mauve color scheme that Christo said he had carefully chosen in relationship to the surroundings.


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