The London Mastaba 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, or with a VR headset through Steam and HTC Viveport.
The London Mastaba 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.
Visitors to The Serpentine Galleries can experience Acute Art’s production through The Serpentine Mobile Tours, which offer visitors the opportunity to discover more about the accompanying exhibition, and encounter Christo’s work in a new way.
Designed to ensure no ecological damage is caused to the lake or its surroundings, The London Mastaba is a temporary installation, and will be removed and recycled after 23 September 2018.
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 and his late wife Jeanne-Claude 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, though Christo’s name was only added retrospectively to works from 1994. 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 has cited a desire to create works that are beautiful and bring joy, or facilitate new ways of seeing familiar landscapes.
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 drawing 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). In 2009, Jeanne-Claude died aged 74. Christo lives and works in New York.
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