The annual Serpentine Pavilion is always a big talking point in London’s art world. However, it looks like this year’s Pavilion may be have eclipsed somewhat by a floating sculpture in neighbouring Hyde Park. Towering over the boaters, bathers and birdlife of the Serpentine Lake is The London Mastaba, a floating artwork from Christo.
This temporary structure coincides with an exhibition of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work at the Serpentine Gallery. Artists and spouses Christo and Jeanne-Claude (d. 2009) started collaborating in 1961 and created many public art projects internationally. The couple used barrels in many of their sculpture and installations, as well as The London Mastaba.
This year, Christo has created his first outdoor, public work in the UK. The London Mastaba is inspired by mastabas – benches featuring two vertical sides, two slanted sides and a flat top – which originated in ancient Mesopotamia. Christo’s Mastaba is 20metre high by 30 metre and 40 metres and made of 7,506 barrels painted in various shades of blue, red, white and mauve. The artist funded the sculpture and made sure it wasn’t damaging to the Serpentine and its wildlife.
Since its unveiling in June, The London Mastaba has received a mixed response from critics. The Guardian labelled it a ‘gigantic bath toy’, while The Telegraph enthused about the ‘jaw-dropping wonder’. It certainly dominates the view and can be seen from many parts of Hyde Park. Although it’s certainly at odds with the muted nature colours around it, I actually like it. I can always embrace a bit of colour and would love to get a closer look in a pedalo. It will be floating in the Serpentine until late September so check it out if you can, combining it with a pit stop at the Serpentine Pavilion in neighbouring Kensington Gardens.
- The London Mastaba is floating on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park from 18 June until 23 September 2018. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website.
Metro Girl likes: If you’re in Hyde Park on a sunny day, head to the Lido Bar & Café for alfresco waterside dining or drinks. We had fairly reasonable priced sandwiches and cocktails and a great table with a view of the Mastaba and ducklings swimming past us.
Check out this year’s Serpentine Pavilion.
For a guide to what’s on in London in August 2018, click here.