Alien structure in Hyde Park – 600 tonne Trapezoidal – The London Mastaba

London Mastaba

It is 20 meters high and constructed from 7,506 barrels with colours blue, red, mauve, white. The mastaba is an archaeological term to describe something like an Egyptian tomb, flat roof sloping sides, rooms built above an underground burial chamber which housed offerings symbolic of eternal life. The colours contrast the green-blue surroundings of the Lake in the park.

What is the London Mastaba

The London Mastaba”. A Trapezoidal flat top pyramid-shaped structure that was designed to float on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park London.  The exhibition piece floated, till around the 9th of September 2018.

32 anchors at 6 tonnes each weigh the structure down, and it’s thought to weigh 600 tonnes. The Serpentine Lake is 5.30 Meters deep.

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Alien structure in Hyde Park - 600 tonne Trapezoidal - The London Mastaba 1

Who is Christo Vladimirov Javacheff?

The Artists behind the Mastaba concept

Serpentine Gallery hosted this years Mastaba Exhibition
Serpentine Gallery hosted this year’s Mastaba Exhibition

Background to the Artists

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff born 13 June 1935 Gabrovo Bulgaria

Formed a union with a female artist Jeanne-Claude and one day married her she too was born on 13 June 1935 Casablanca Morocco, passed away in 2009

They met in Romantic artistic Paris in 1958.

They started working on things in 1961, creating environmental works of art that were temporary and could be dismantled. That was interesting in shape, and in some cases, things like the oil barrels were not expensive. Art that could be enjoyed by people for free

Oil Drums, Serpentine Gallery, The London Mastaba
The London Mastaba exhibition, whilst visiting Serpentine Gallery

Wall of Oil Barrels – The Iron Curtain

Rue Visconti, Paris, 1961-62

89 Oil barrels were used to block off a narrow street in protest. That year saw protests, demonstrations, and barricades about the Algerian war and that summer the Berlin wall went up.

oil drum blockade in street on display in the Serpentine Gallery
oil drum blockade in street on display at the Serpentine Gallery.

The barrels were of the 50-200 litre capacity, brands such as ESSO, BP, SHELL AZUR. Artefacts to do with the artist including Old Oil barrels are on display at the Serpentine Gallery to support the London Mastaba Art construction on Display in London.

The Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park London
The Serpentine Gallery London

The Serpentine gallery shows drawings models of another Mastaba and older photographs of it in a dessert like the location. One could be left wondering was there a flat pyramid somewhere before in the world? They conceived the idea in 1977 and became an ongoing project that hoped to be one of the biggest constructions in the world of its type. The backdrop being the desert surroundings in Abu Dhabi.  The design planning stage envisaged the Mastaba being made from bright vivid coloured barrels in a mosaic, very much in line with artwork in that part of the world.


Other Works of art in no particular order

Valley Curtain

1970-72 Rifle, Colorado USA

A Huge length of fabric curtain was hung between to sloped mountains deep orange in colour, which could be seen by traffic on the winding roads approaching.

The Floating Piers

2014-16 lake Lseo in Italy

100,000 sq. meters of orange-yellow fabric, that covered a modular cube set of polyethene structures that were built to form a floating pier that people could walk on. Which also were lit at night. Stunning.

Running Fence

1972-76 Sonoma and Marin counties California USA

39.4km long and 5.5meters high a fabric fence that was constructed that looked like a white cliffs edge or pathway billowing in the wind.

Surrounded Island

1980-83 Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami Florida USA

603,870sq meters of floating pink polypropylene fabric that extended out from each island and floated on the water, making a larger shape around the islands that could be seen from above because of the colour and shape.

The Gates

1979-2005 Central Park New York USA

7,503  archway gates, headed by fabric coloured in an orange saffron type colour, contrasting with the trees, the seasons, the water day time night time.


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