The London Mastaba (2018) | Virtual Reality
The London Mastaba (2016-18) is a temporary, floating sculpture consisting of 7,506 barrels, stacked horizontally on a floating platform. Situated on The Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park, the work is the largest public work by Christo ever presented in the UK, and can be experienced in virtual reality and 360° video through the Acute Art app.
The installation stands at 20 metres in height, with blue, mauve and red barrels forming slanted walls that rise from a platform measuring 30 x 40 metres. Acute Art allows viewers to soar above it in virtual space at a height of 30 metres, revealing the work at different times of the day, from sunrise to sunset. Viewers can also explore the surrounding park, walk across The Serpentine Lake, and even climb to the top of Christo’s work.
The London Mastaba AR (Hyde Park) (2020) | Augmented Reality
Visitors to Hyde Park can virtually summon one of the best loved public artworks of recent years, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s London Mastaba, on their smartphones. The launch of The London Mastaba AR (Hyde Park) (2020) brings this iconic sculpture back to the Serpentine via the free Acute Art app and will be an exact virtual replica of the physical sculpture installed in 2018.
The translation of the Mastaba into Augmented Reality gives audiences a chance to play at being the artist, placing the sculpture within the landscapes of Kensington Gardens and beyond. Viewers will be able to explore a virtual version of the installation through their smartphones when they visit The Serpentine Lake.
In addition to the site specific AR work, Acute Art will also develop The London Mastaba AR (2020) – a version that users can place at home or wherever they are.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude are celebrated for their ambitious structures that intervene landscapes around the world. The London Mastaba is Christo’s first major public work in the UK.
Acute Art is a technical partner for today’s most compelling artists, and to mark the launch of our app we collaborated with the Serpentine Gallery and the Royal Parks to bring the structure to life in virtual space. Our recording of The London Mastaba has made it an experience accessible anywhere in the world.
Christo developed his ideas for this piece with the environment in mind, connecting it to the lake and the surrounding city. Filming commenced at dawn in Hyde Park, with a 360º video camera attached to a drone. The sunrise hit the blue, red, and mauve barrels forming reflections on the surface of the lake. These colours are in striking contrast to the greenery of the park. The drone captured the incredible texture and patterns of the barrels as it flew around the structure.
On the app, fly across the lake looking down upon the structure from a height of 35 meters, surrounded by the natural sounds of the park, the wind and birds, catching a glimpse of London’s horizon. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s piece, The London Mastaba, was temporarily in Hyde Park, but the experience is available in 360º video and VR cardboard on the Acute Art app.
About Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Christo (1935-2020) and Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009) are known internationally for their large-scale environmental artworks and temporary sculptures. They first met in Paris in 1958, and fell in love through creating art together. Significant interventions include Pont-Neuf Wrapped (1985), which saw the couple enshroud Paris’s oldest bridge in 40,000m2 of golden fabric, intended to evoke the colour of the city’s pavements at sunset. A decade later, they created Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same day, 13 June 1935, Christo in Bulgaria, and Jeanne-Claude in Morocco. Significant outdoor projects include The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, London (2016-18), The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy (2014-16), and The Gates, Central Park, New York (1979-2005). From 1984-1991, they worked across two countries to create The Umbrellas, installing 1,340 blue umbrellas in Japan and 1,760 yellow umbrellas in California. Each of their works is disassembled once complete, leaving behind only preparatory drawings and collages. They have been the subject of international exhibitions at institutions including ING, Belgium (2017-18), the Fondation Maeght, France (2016), and the Smithsonian, USA (2010).
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